Everyone loves a more powerful computer, right? This is probably the underlying motivation that drives much of modern quantum computing research. "I've got a superBogus™ gen 2 quantum processor, how about you?" Okay, maybe not the primary motivation. Along the way to quantum computing geek nirvana, scientists are learning an awful lot about quantum mechanics. These are not discoveries that shake the foundations of physics; instead, we are learning about the practicalities of manipulating quantum properties
One of the new kids on the block is called topologically protected quantum computing. The basic idea is to create a setup where the shape or layout of a quantum system self-stabilizes, making it impossible for the environment to effect it. Even at a distance, pairs of particles can link up, creating something called a Majorana fermion. This was thought to be immune to something called decoherence, making it the perfect object for a qubit. Unfortunately, a bit of thought shows that this is entirely untrue.