Quantum computing is advancing rapidly. Now, thanks to a consortium led by the University of Cambridge, quantum computers will be as transparent as the RaspberryPi. The sensational breakthrough in Quantum Computational Systems has been compared by Cambridge Independent Press to the moment in the 1960s when computers shrank from room size to sitting on a desk. Quantum Computational Systems are about to enter our lives one after another.
About 50 quantum computers have been built to date, and they all use different software – Windows, IOS or Linux have no quantum equivalent. The new project will offer an operating system that allows the same quantum software to run on different types of quantum computing hardware.
The system, Deltaflow.OS (full name Deltaflow-on-ARTIQ), was designed by Cambridge Uni startup Riverlane. It runs on a chip developed by consortium member SEEQC using some of the space required in previous hardware. SEEQC is headquartered in the USA. There is also a large R&D center in England.
SEEQC's chief product officer and co-founder, Dr. “To put it simply, what was once the size of a room has now become a coin-sized chip,” says Matthew Hutchings in a press release.
“This is as important for the future of quantum computers as the microchip is for commercializing conventional computers, which allows them to be produced cost-effectively and at scale,” he says.
Quantum computers store information in the form of quantum bits or qubits. Like Schrödinger's cat (which would have had no colloquial effect if it had chosen an inanimate object), qubits have the ability to exist simultaneously in two different states of knowledge.
But for quantum computers to be truly powerful, they need to be able to scale to contain many more qubits, making it possible to solve some seriously tricky problems.
“Where a rack of electronics was required to control qubits, now a penny-sized chip can solve problems,” Hutchings said.
Quantum Operating Systems
Riverlane has a big mission. An operating system that makes quantum software portable between qubit technologies – it can scale to millions of qubits. This makes it possible to get the highest possible performance from each qubit, even for applications like error correction that need feedback loops.
What will quantum computing be used for?
With enough qubits, quantum computers can process complex calculations at very high speeds. One application where enormous processing power can be used is to simulate digital versions of chemical compounds, test theories and predict real chemical actions without using a physical laboratory. According to Riverlane, approximately $1 billion is required to bring a new drug to market and take many years of research, testing and clinical trials. Quantum computing may offer a shortcut.
Another advantage: better batteries. The UK has announced that it has ambitious targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Similar to drug development, quantum computers can be used to create a 'virtual laboratory' environment, providing a much faster, cheaper and more robust way. This sustainable method will enable better research and development towards a cleaner future.
Quantum computational system developments are also expected in the fields of logistics, weather forecasting, cybersecurity and finance.
Other members of the Riverlane group include Hitachi Europe, Oxford Quantum Circuits, chip designer Arm and the National Physics Laboratory. These firms will develop their own technologies and then develop firmware for quantum processors that will interface with Deltaflow.
Hitachi Europe, for example, is currently in production of a quantum computer based on the same microprocessor technology found in laptops, cars and cell phones.
Riverlane isn't the only quantum expert at Cambridge. Cambridge Quantum Computing says it has developed tools for the commercialization of quantum technologies that will have a profound long-term impact.
In fact, time is needed to transform quantum computers from experimental technology into commercial products. This is called the “quantum advantage,” and it has been likened to a gold rush, as in this article in Nature.
As Riverlane says, “Quantum computing is a high-risk industry with the potential to reap great rewards. The large amount of private sector and government investment shows that the question is not just whether this will happen, with some predictions that we can achieve quantum advantage in five years, but when.”
If the burgeoning quantum ecosystem continues to grow rapidly, perhaps the revolution could happen sooner than we think.
Source: Compiled from redsharknews.com.