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New largest number factored on a quantum device is 56,153

Posted December 1, 2014

Researchers have set a new record for the quantum factorization of the largest number to date, 56,153, smashing the previous record of 143 that was set in 2012. They have shown that the exact same room-temperature nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiment used to factor 143 can actually factor an entire class of numbers, although this was not known until now. Because this computation, which is based on a minimization algorithm involving 4 qubits, does not require prior knowledge of the answer, it outperforms all implementations of Shor’s algorithm to date, which do require prior knowledge of the answer. Expanding on this method, the researchers also theoretically show how the same minimization algorithm can be used to factor even larger numbers, such as 291,311, with only 6 qubits.

quantum factorization

 This table shows all of the progress until now in factoring numbers using quantum computers. The last three numbers are from the current paper. Credit: Dattani and Bryans

On top of this, in the same paper the researchers demonstrated the first quantum factorization of a “triprime,” which is the product of three prime numbers. Here, the researchers used a 3-qubit factorization method to factor the triprime 175, which has the factors 5, 5, and 7.

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