An anonymous reader writes "Generating entangled photons in a reliable way is impossible right now, stalling the development of the optical quantum computers that would use entangled photons as quantum bits (qubits). Because entangled photons can only be produced at random — which takes time — the most powerful optical quantum computing device use only 6 qubits. UK and Israeli quantum physicists have designed a blueprint for a 'quantum machine gun' that fires out barrages of entangled photons on demand. They think within a few years this device will be built, and could lead to quantum computing using 20 to 30 qubits. Every additional qubit doubles the computing power, so these quantum computers could outperform any existing classical computer, the researchers say. The quantum machine gun is described as 'one of the most exciting theoretical proposals I've read in five years' by a leading quantum physicist." The research was published in Physical Review Letters earlier this month.