Soon, a computer million times faster than PCs
Quantum Computers Closer To Reality As Researchers Make First Blueprint For Prototype
Scientists have produced the first-ever blueprint for a large-scale quantum computer in a development that could bring about a technological revolution on a par with the invention of computing itself.
Present quantum computers have just a fraction of the processing power they are capable of producing. Researchers believe they have overcome the main problems that have prevented the construction of powerful machines.
They are currently building a prototype and a full-scale quantum computer. Such de vices work by utilising the magical properties found in the world of the very small, where an atom can apparently exist in two different places at the same time. Professor Winfried Hensinger, head of Ion Quantum Technology Group at Sussex University , research head, said, “It is the Holy Grail of science, to build a quantum computer. And we are now publishing the actual nutsand-bolts construction plan for a large-scale quantum com puter.“ “Life will change completely. We will be able to do certain things we could never even dream of before,“ he said.
He said small quantum computers had been built in the past but to test the theories.
The problem is that existing quantum computers require lasers focused on individual atoms. The larger the computer, the more lasers are required and greater the chance of going wrong. But Hensinger and colleagues used a different technique to monitor the atoms, involving a microwave field and electricity in an `ion-trap' device.“What we have is a solution that we can scale to arbitrary (computing) power,“ he said.
“Within two years we think we will have completed a prototype which incorporates all the technology in this blueprint. It's extraordinarily expensive so we need industry partners ... this will be in the 10s of millions, up to £100m.“
Commenting on the research, described in the journal Science Advances, some academics expressed caution about how quickly it could be developed. Dr Toby Cubitt of said, “Ion traps were one of the earliest proposals. Though there's still a long way to go before you'll be making spreadsheets on your quantum computer.“