Scientists are one step closer to creating 'quantum' computers that are far more powerful than even the most advanced supercomputers of today. Quantum computers utilize the peculiar properties of subatomic particles.
Even though they are separated by millions of miles, so-called quantum particles can be in two locations at once and have a strange connection. Quantum information was transferred between computer chips at record speeds and accuracy by a Sussex University team.
Since the early 1990s, computer scientists have endeavored to create an effective quantum computer. Google, IBM, and Microsoft, among others, have created simple machines. According to Prof. Winfried Hensinger, who led the research at Sussex University, the new development paves the way for systems that can solve complex real-world problems that today's best computers cannot.
Prof. Winfried Hensinger mentioned that quantum computers consist of very simple microchips now. It is now possible to create extremely powerful quantum computers that are capable of solving some of the most pressing issues facing industries and society. Currently, computers solve problems by performing one calculation at a time in a linear way.
Whereas, in the quantum realm the particles can be in two places at the same time. Researchers hope to utilize this property to create computers capable of performing multiple calculations simultaneously.
Quantum particles can be separated by millions of miles and still be strangely connected, mirroring each other's actions in real-time. Again, this could be used to create significantly more powerful computers.
One issue has been transferring quantum information between chips quickly and reliably. The information degrades which introduces errors. However, Prof Hensinger’s team has been able to find a solution for the same.
The team developed a system capable of transporting information from one chip to another at record speeds with a reliability of 99.999993%. According to the researchers, this demonstrates that chips could in theory be combined to create a more powerful quantum computer.
Prof. Michael Cuthbert, director of the newly established National Quantum Computing Centre in Didcot, Oxfordshire, and an independent member of the Sussex research group, referred to the development as a "very significant enabling step." However, he stated that additional work was required to develop practical systems.
To construct the type of quantum computer that will be required in the future, you begin by connecting chips the size of your thumbnail until you reach the size of a dinner plate. The Sussex group has demonstrated that stability and speed are necessary for this step.
However, you also need a mechanism to connect the dinner plates to scale up a machine. These could be as large as a football pitch to be able to carry out realistic and useful computations. The technology for communications for that scale is not available yet. Rolls Royce, one of the leading engineering companies in the UK, is also optimistic about the technology. It is collaborating with the researchers at Sussex to develop machines that could aid in the design of even more efficient jet engines.