SP’s: Researchers in the UK have announced to bring ‘useful’ quantum devices in two years and attain the most powerful quantum computer by 2020.
Arms race and space contests are the things of the past for the first and second world countries. They are now focused on the new prize: The Quantum Technology. Till recently, we saw that the United States was the clear-cut front-runner in the next-gen computing program. NASA, along with Google, was working with the most powerful quantum computer built hitherto.
The UK, it seems has also jumped into the competition and according to its engineers, UK would host the world’s most powerful quantum computer by 2020.
UK chancellor George Osborne had kicked off the Quantum Mission in 2013 and announced £270-million investment for the development of the quantum technologies. The engineers have claimed to build useful quantum devices within 5 years from 2015.
Quantum computers have enormous applications, but researchers are focusing specifically on computing, communications, sensing, and imaging. The teams have already discussed their five-year plan in their first annual meeting at the Oxford University last month.
Now Quantum Technology is as difficult to develop as the name sounds in itself. It is far from the regular silicon-based chips and binary computing. The Quantum computers harness the power of atoms and use their superposed states (can have both 0 & 1 state simultaneously unlike classical bits) for the computational purpose. This creates the dynamic bits known as qubits or quantum bits.
Apart from achieving precision while removing quantum decoherence, there is one more hurdle for the scientists: to make consumers understand that the technology is not spooky and too weird to be useful! Well, that is not just English’s problem. If quantum technology is brought in the market, the makers might have to explain a few things about their products first.
However, it is not just the US and the UK that are in the race to perfect the quantum technology, the Chinese have announced hack proof quantum communications network by 2016 stretching from Beijing to Shanghai.
Ian Walmsley heads the quantum computing hub at Oxford and along with his team, he is working on new and viable methods to achieve quantum computing. Their team is developing a Q20:20 proof of concept system that holds the charged atoms inside the electromagnetic field which are then struck by lasers to read and write information. The name Q20:20 is an innuendo that they will bring a 20-qubit device in 2 years.
And they plan to integrate 20 such chips to form a 400-qubit processor by the end of 2020.
It is a great news for tech enthusiasts that quantum devices would soon be available, but wait, didn’t D-Wave already break the 1000-qubit barrier months ago!! What most powerful quantum technology then the English have been rattling about?
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