**Context:** In a paper published on June 21, researchers at Microsoft announced that they had figured out a way to create an elusive kind of particle that could potentially revolutionise quantum computing.

**Supercomputing**

Supercomputing technology comprises supercomputers, the fastest computers in the world. Supercomputers are made up of **interconnects, I/O (input/output) systems, memory and processor cores.**

- Unlike traditional computers,
**supercomputers use more than one central processing unit (CPU).** - These CPUs are grouped into
**compute nodes**, comprising a processor or a group of processors—**symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)**—and**a memory block.** - A supercomputer can
**contain tens of thousands of nodes**. With interconnect communication capabilities, these nodes can collaborate on solving a specific problem. **Nodes also use interconnects to communicate with I/O systems, like data storage and networking.**

Supercomputing is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS). Petaflops are a measure of a computer’s processing speed equal to a thousand trillion flops. And a 1-petaflop computer system can perform one quadrillion (10^{15}) flops. From a different perspective, supercomputers can be one million times more processing power than the fastest laptop.

**Quantum Computing**

Quantum computing is a rapidly emerging technology t**hat harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers.**

**Qubit **

A qubit (or quantum bit) is the quantum **mechanical analogue of a classical bit**. In classical computing the information is encoded in bits, where each bit can have the value zero or one. **In quantum computing the information is encoded in qubits**. A qubit can hold a **one, a zero or crucially a superposition of these.**

- A quantum computer can use individual electrons as qubits – its fundamental units of information.
**Information can be encoded in some property of each electron, like its spin.**

**Quantum Superposition **

A quantum state in superposition can be seen as **a linear combination of other distinct quantum states**. This quantum state in superposition forms a new valid quantum state.

**Quantum Entanglement**

A pair or group of particles is entangled **when the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently **of the quantum state of the other particle(s). The **quantum state of the system as a whole can be described**; it is in a definite state, **although the parts of the system are not**.

**Concepts associated with Quantum computing**

**Spin **

Qantum particles exhibit an** intrinsic **angular momentum component which is known as spin.

**Anti-Particle**

Dirac’s equation predicted the existence of **an antiparticle for each particle**, such that if the two meet, they annihilate each other. **Based on his prediction, scientists found the first antiparticle, the positron (or the anti-electron), in 1932**.

**Bound state**

The Bound state of a particle is that particular state in which two particles are **energetically forbidden to be separated at large distances or potentially bound in that state.**

**Ground state **

It is the state of a particle **with lowest possible energy**. **Usually, particles do not show any degeneracy at ground state.**

**Degeneracy **

Degeneracy in quantum mechanics means that **a system can have multiple states at the same energy.**

**Topological System**

Topology systems are concerned with the properties of a geometric object that are **preserved under continuous deformations**, such as stretching, twisting, crumpling, and bending; that is, without closing holes, opening holes, tearing, gluing, or passing through itself.

**Topological Degeneracy **

In topological systems, t**he system has multiple states at the lowest or ground state energy**, i.e., the quantum system can exist in two (or more) possible states at its lowest energy.

**Fermions **

These particles have** half integer quantum spin like 1/2, 3/2, 5/2, etc. **This is why any particle, even something as large as an entire atom, can be a fermion, just its total quantum spin needs to have a half-integer value.

**Non-Abelian Statistics**

Under these rules, **changing the order of steps** in which you perform a task **changes the task’s outcomes.**

For example, say you have an algorithm that performs a series of steps in the order A-B-C-D. If the algorithm played according to the rules of non-Abelian statistics, A-C-B-D would give a different result from A-D-B-C.

**Majorana Fermions and Majorana Zero Modes (MZM)**

The quantum rules that apply to a single fermion also apply to pairs, or bound states. **When the bound states are their own antiparticles** – i.e., if they meet, they annihilate each other – they are Majorana fermions. Physicists call **such bound states ***Majorana zero modes**.*

To be a Majorana zero mode, any bound state should satisfy two conditions

**It should obey the Dirac equation.****It should be its own antiparticle.**

**Majorana Zero Modes helping in Computing **

Quantum computers have a big problem, **they’re very fragile and slight disturbances in the surrounding my result in the change of the quantum state of the particle and can result in change of the information.**

**Majorana zero modes**are a mathematical construction that**allows electrons to be described theoretically as being composed of two halves.**- From a quantum computing perspective, if an electron can be split into two parts, then
**the information it encodes as a qubit will be protected from local perturbations**.

Which makes** Majorana Zero modes much more stable than most other qubits**.

Also, **MZM follows non-Abelian statistics** which makes the outcome also dependent on the path taken in computation. So, **the calculation done by MZM will have one more degree of freedom.**

**Current status of MZM **

Indian Institute of Science associate professor Anindya Das said, “While topological quantum computing remains the ultimate goal, **the existence of Majorana fermions hasn’t been settled yet.** The result will need to be independently confirmed.”