The appeal of quantum computing is that by making use of quantum systems in highly entangled states, one can feasibly solve problems (such as factorizing large integers) that would take far too long on even the most powerful of classical computers. Still, useful quantum computation would require a register of some hundreds or thousands of quantum entities, such as two-level qubits or continuously valued qumodes. Scalability in the control over quantum information is thus an important research goal.

Toward that end, Olivier Pfister and colleagues at the University of Virginia have shown that in a single step, they can simultaneously manipulate at least 60 qumodes, entangling them in sets of four.1 Their experiment is a step toward implementation of a scheme called one-way quantum computing.

The most familiar approach to quantum computing is much like classical computing: Start with a blank slate of unentangled qubits, manipulate them in a...

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