Quantum computers are intended to solve problems that even supercomputers currently cannot handle. A look behind the scenes at IBM confirms that not only is the potential huge, but so too are the technical challenges.
Quantum computers are far from science fiction
For a long time people considered how to make the peculiar laws of the quantum world usable in a computer. Now IBM has created an entirely new quantum computer.
From bit to qubit – a quantum leap Picture may be used, no lands
The IBM team under Heike Riel uses qubits rather than bits as a computing unit. Qubits open up more opportunities than the binary states of classical bits. Making 0 and 1 now a thing of the past.
Made for challenging tasks
Thanks to the additional possible states of qubits, there is an exponential increase in the potential computing power of quantum computers. Every additional qubit doubles the total performance of the computer.
The goal of quantum advantage in mind
Qubits are still prone to failure. With further improvements and a certain number of qubits, the quantum computer is far superior to the classical computer, and this is called the quantum advantage.
Vacuumed and frozen – qubits are sensitive
Qubits are extremely sensitive in operation. The chips have to be constantly cooled in a vacuum in cooling elements to below -273°C – which is colder than outer space.
The required stability is currently still a challenge
Quantum System One, Europe's only quantum computer, located near Stuttgart, computes with 27 qubits. And although more powerful prototypes already exist, they are much more unstable.
Errors cannot be ruled out where qubits calculate
The smallest influence will disturb the quantum state of the qubits. The IBM Quantum Hummingbird is better protected against magnetic and electrical interference so that it can make full use of its 65 qubits.