How Abu Dhabi’s new quantum computer could help solve the mysteries of science.
The emirate is building the first quantum computer in the UAE, in collaboration with Barcelona-based Qilimanjaro Quantum TechQuantum computing is set to change our world. It will be able to process information at much faster speeds than classic technology.
The technology offers the prospect of huge breakthroughs in a number of fields, including science, finance and even our understanding of the way the universe works. Although it is still early days, experts say the technology offers huge potential.
But how do quantum computers work? And what could they achieve?
What is the difference between traditional and quantum computers?
Today’s computers function using something called bits, which are arranged in a combination of ones and zeroes. But this binary system can be very limiting.
Quantum computers do not. Instead of bits, they use quantum bits, or “qubits”. And using these qubits they are capable of solving calculations a traditional computer could never answer.
In late 2019, Google announced it had achieved “quantum supremacy”.
This means that its quantum computer became the first to solve a calculation in less than four minutes that would have taken the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years to complete.
How does it work?
By applying the principles of a branch of physics called quantum mechanics, where particles can exist in two states at once, there are endless possibilities.
A quantum computer doesn’t have to choose one rule, meaning the qubits can be in two states at the same time. It helps allow quantum computers to process multiple possibilities at once, solving problems at a much faster rate.
But a quantum computer can test them all at once, reducing a calculation that would ordinarily take years to minutes. But quantum computers are as fragile as they are complex.
They require an ultra-cold environment to operate of just above zero Kelvin – a unit of temperature which is minus 273.15°C the lowest physically possible temperature in the universe. That is colder than deep space.
What problems could quantum computing help solve one day?
The possibilities are endless. That includes the mundane, such as finding the most efficient route, to huge breakthroughs in science, including creating new cancer treatments – or possibly even finding a curefor cancer.
They may even one day answer questions about the origins of the universe and address mysteries of space and time.
The Advanced Technology Research Council is building the computer at its Quantum Research Centre labs in Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Barcelona-based Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech.
Read the full article in The National.