Computers are fickle things and quantum systems even more so. So it’s not a surprise that combining the two has been a complex and laborious task. But now, thanks to the strenuous work of researchers, a quantum computer might be around the corner.
An international team of scientists has shown a new way to assemble quantum computer modules and they are planning to actually build a working prototype at the University of Sussex, UK.
The novel approach has been published in Science Advances, and the quantum computer blueprint has been made available to the public so that scientists from all over the world can collaborate on this. It is supposedly the first industrial blueprint to actually build a large-scale quantum computer.
“The availability of a universal quantum computer may have a fundamental impact on society as a whole,” senior author Professor Winfried Hensinger, from the University of Sussex, said in a statement. “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.”
The team has developed a way of introducing connections between computer modules that uses electric fields to move ions around. Their invention produces a connection speed 100,000 times faster than the current approach, which uses fiber optics. The design is fully scalable and the team is confident that the architecture is fault-tolerant.
"It was most important to us to highlight the substantial technical challenges as well as to provide practical engineering solutions," said lead author Dr Bjoern Lekitsch, also from the University of Sussex.
“For many years, people said that it was completely impossible to construct an actual quantum computer. With our work, we have not only shown that it can be done but now we are delivering a nuts and bolts construction plan to build an actual large-scale machine,” Professor Hensinger added.
Quantum computers are enormously more powerful than regular computers, potentially capable of doing calculations even supercomputers are not able to do. Researchers think they will revolutionize all scientific fields, answering questions that can’t be currently answered, designing new lifesaving medicines and model the universe with an unprecedented precision.