Scientists Unveil First Ever Blueprint To Build A Large Scale Quantum Computer
Looks like quantum computers should soon be commonplace if researchers have it thier way. Researchers at the University of Sussex have unveiled the first ever open-source practical blueprint for how to build a large-scale quantum computer – the most powerful computer on Earth – that could reform industry, science, medicine and commerce.
The study, which was a collaboration between University of Sussex (UK), Google, RIKEN (Japan), Siegen University (Germany), and Aarhus University (Denmark), is featured in the journal Science Advances.
In the past, scientists had proposed using fiber optic connections to link individual computer modules to obtain efficient computing powers.
The invention introduces connections created by electric fields that let charged atoms (ions) to be transported from one module to another.
Researchers said they have managed to overcome some important obstacles, developing a “new approach (that) would allow 100,000 times faster connection speeds between individual quantum computing modules compared to current state-of-the-art fibre link technology,” said the study, which would be a leap forward toward building a universal quantum computer.
“For many years, people said that it was completely impossible to construct an actual quantum computer,” said Professor Winfried Hensinger, head of the Ion Quantum Technology Group at the University of Sussex, who has been leading this research.
“With our work, we have not only shown that it can be done but now we are delivering nuts and bolts construction plan to build an actual large-scale machine,” he added.
“It was most important to us to highlight the substantial technical challenges as well as to provide practical engineering solutions,” said lead author Bjoern Lekitsch, also from the University of Sussex.
Based on this design, the team will construct a prototype quantum computer at the University as a next step, which they hope to complete in two years.
Hensinger said: “The availability of a universal quantum computer may have a fundamental impact on society as a whole. Without doubt it is still challenging to build a large-scale machine, but now is the time to translate academic excellence into actual application building on the UK’s strengths in this ground-breaking technology. I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen.”
While we won’t be seeing quantum computers in our homes or offices anytime soon, the blueprint is for building quantum computers at an industrial scale. They are proposed to be built alongside individual sophisticated vacuum apparatus and integrated quantum computing silicon microchips where the ions are stored using electric fields. They are likely to take up entire buildings, not just space on an office desk.
Once built and successfully integrated into the industry, the computers know-how mean it would have the potential to answer many questions in science; create new, lifesaving medicines and solve the most complex scientific problems, and unravel mysteries of deep space.