Quantum information processing (QIP) can potentially provide an
exponential speedup for certain problems over the corresponding (known)
algorithms on conventional computers. QIP makes use of the
counter-intuitive properties of quantum mechanics, like entanglement and
the superposition principle (being in more states than one
simultaneously). On the way towards a useful QIP device these properties,
mostly subject of thought experiments so far, will have to become a
practical reality.
Atomic ions confined in an array of interconnected traps represent a
potentially scalable approach to QIP. All basic requirements have been
experimentally demonstrated in the last few years. The remaining task is
to scale this approach to a large QIP device while minimizing and
correcting errors in the system. The talk will give a brief introduction
to quantum information processing, followed by a survey of recent progress
in implementing quantum algorithms with up to six ions in trap arrays.
Efforts towards micro-fabrication and integration of larger trap arrays
will also be discussed, and the prospects and challenges of this
particular approach will be summarized.