When the UK is ready for the next big thing, it will be the next quantum computer

July 20, 2021 0 Comments

From the time the first supercomputer was invented, the British public have been intrigued by the potential of a machine capable of solving the most complicated of maths problems. 

But, as we all know, a lot of the work of developing the first machine was done by people who were working on other machines. 

A new study published in Nature Communications shows that there is still a lot that we do not know about quantum computing and it is possible to build a supercomputer that can perform the kind of complex calculations that the first quantum computers were able to perform. The study provides the first detailed account of the architecture of the first computer and the researchers say it is important to remember that quantum computing is still in its early stages, and it does not yet exist. 

Professor Stephen Hawking, who is a physicist at the University of Cambridge, said: “These findings give us a clear understanding of how to build such a machine and it provides a glimpse of what the future will hold for computing.”

I think that this paper is the first real, high-quality description of how quantum computing should be done.

“What we now need to do is to get these machines to be able to solve some of the problems that we need to solve in our daily lives.”

We need a quantum computer that can do calculations in the real world that are beyond what we can do in the lab.

“Professor Hawking told BBC News:”I have been watching the progress of quantum computers and they have been a real challenge, but now that the technology is well established, it’s really exciting to see this new technology actually making a real contribution in our everyday lives.

“The study builds on the work already done by Dr Andrew Lonergan of the University at Oxford and Dr Ralf Möller of the Technical University of Munich, who demonstrated that a quantum computing chip could outperform a classical computer in an advanced maths problem.

Professor Hawking added:”There are two reasons why we are interested in building a supercomputing chip: the first is to try to build an incredibly fast supercomputer.

“And then the second reason is to work out how we can scale this to perform other more complex tasks that we want to do, such as solving complex equations.”

Professor Möllers said:”If we want this kind of technology to really get started in the future, we need a super computer that we can build, which will give us the power to tackle problems that are not yet as challenging as they could be.”

Quantum computers are capable of performing calculations that are 10,000 times faster than classical computers, but the main challenge is to do so in the context of a quantum universe. 

To do this, the researchers are using the quantum properties of atoms to achieve the same kind of speed that a classical processor can achieve. 

This is known as quantum superposition. 

However, the team at the Cambridge Institute for Quantum Optics (CQO) have come up with a different way of doing this, using a process known as “quantum tunneling”. 

This involves changing the position of one atom in the system, which allows it to move faster than the speed of light.

This has the potential to make the speed achievable by a quantum supercomputer, and the CQO team say it can be achieved by creating a computer that is only slightly more powerful than the current state of the art. 

Dr Lonergans added: “[T]heoretical physicist Ralf Moeller has described quantum tunneling as a form of quantum communication, where you can use two or more atoms to transfer information faster than light, but we’ve found that this is the most efficient way of achieving quantum tunneled communication.”

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and is published in Science. 

It is the latest in a series of articles in Nature about quantum technology, which has been the subject of intense research over the past decade.