Indexed on: 26 Feb '97Published on: 26 Feb '97Published in: Quantum Physics
Recent research has demonstrated that quantum computers can solve certain types of problems substantially faster than the known classical algorithms. These problems include factoring integers and certain physics simulations. Practical quantum computation requires overcoming the problems of environmental noise and operational errors, problems which appear to be much more severe than in classical computation due to the inherent fragility of quantum superpositions involving many degrees of freedom. Here we show that arbitrarily accurate quantum computations are possible provided that the error per operation is below a threshold value. The result is obtained by combining quantum error-correction, fault tolerant state recovery, fault tolerant encoding of operations and concatenation. It holds under physically realistic assumptions on the errors.