“In a classical computer, if you need to store information to process later — you can take the data from your CPU and copy it in your RAM or hard drive and fish it back up later,” Morello told Seeker. “You can’t do this in quantum mechanics.”
That’s because of the “no-cloning theorem,” which states that you can never make a copy of quantum information. Instead, you must transfer it from one particle to another, essentially erasing the original. Morello’s demonstration proved that it can be done. This first round of experiments only had an 81 percent success rate, but the team is continuing to refine the process.
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Why is memory an important component of the coming quantum computing revolution? Technically, memory isn’t required to run quantum algorithms in a closed system, and the first large-scale quantum computers may not include any memory capabilities.
But things get trickier if you want to create a quantum network of multiple machines in different locations. You could link quantum computers through the conventional internet, but then you would lose the quantum advantage, namely the incredible speed and virtually unhackable security afforded by the quantum phenomenon of entanglement.