Hi! Today’s topic is about quantum physics- how quantum computing can be made easier. I would leave the details about quantum computing to the experts , but let me explain briefly why this paper is remarkable.

The big obstacle of performing quantum computing is that realistically, it has to be considered that the quantum computer has to deal with error, or noise. This paper suggests the possibility of enabling quantum computing with noisy devices.

I’d like to critique Figure 1  from this paper to give some tips and tricks to make this paper even more successful. It’s super easy, so stick with me!

This is the first figure in the paper. I think this is a well-designed successful figure for a number of reasons:

  • Simple, concise, and well organized with clear message.
  • Adequate use of shades that makes it easy to  distinguish between data qubit and syndrome bit.
  • Love the stacking brackets to combine the elements! So easy to understand how the hierarchy is composed.

Some elements of this figure can be further improved from a designer’s standpoint. These easy fixes reduces the “cognitive load,” a collection of tiny brain power readers use when processing information.  Putting less cognitive load allows the readers to absorb the information more effortlessly.

Labels

The biggest problem lies in the labels: it can be less busy. I would create a legend to indicate what each shaded circle means.

Size

Especially because the figure itself is quite small, I got confused whether the author intentionally changed the size of qubits and syndrome bits between different levels. Assuming that is the case, I would indicate this fact by showing two circles with different sizes for each elements in the legend. If this is not the case, I would recommend matching all size of each elements and simply use one circle for the legend.

And here is the end result again. Note that the total size of the figure is identical.

See the difference?  Design is behind everywhere in our daily lives, and so as in your paper. : )

Original article can be found here

Knill, E. (2005). Quantum computing with realistically noisy devices. Nature434(7029), 39-44.