Quantum computers use the principles of quantum physics to perform complex calculations
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced that it has purchased its first quantum computer.
Quantum computers solve complex calculations faster than ordinary computers, with their creators claiming they can solve problems even supercomputers can’t.
The purchase was hailed as a “marking moment” by Stepehen Till of the MoD Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
The MoD will work alongside the UK company Orc Computing to explore how quantum computing can help UK defence.
Here’s everything you need to know about what a quantum computer is and how much it costs.
What is a quantum computer?
A quantum computer is a computer that uses the principles of quantum physics to store data and perform complex calculations.
They work completely differently from your laptop or cell phone and are even more superior than supercomputers.
What makes them so unique is their ability to undertake calculations with large amounts of data using the overlay process.
Quantum computers are very sensitive and things like heat or electromagnetic fields can cause the system to crash.
How much does a quantum computer cost?
Although Orca has not announced the cost of its quantum computer, it is expected to be in the tens of millions.
In 2017, Germany’s D-Wave quantum computer had a price tag of $15 million.
Speaking about the collaboration, Orca chief executive Richard Murray said the MoD purchase was an “important vote of confidence”.
Adding: “Our partnership with the MoD gives us convenient and close interaction; and working with real hardware will help us jointly discover new applications of this revolutionary new technology. »
How does a quantum computer work?
A quantum computer uses quantum physics to help bridge the gap between binary numbers.
Normal computers use binary numbers which can be 0 or 1, while quantum computers use memory called qubits, which allows for different arrangements of digits that can occur at the same time.
This process is known as quantum superposition.
Orca’s quantum computing system also uses photons, or single units of light, for tasks such as image analysis and decision making.
The Ministry of Defense said having the quantum computer will help them understand the latest technologies.
Why does the Ministry of Defense have one?
The MoD has purchased a quantum computer to help them understand how its processes can help the UK.
The deal was called a “marking moment” by Stepehen Till, who works at DSTL.
He explained: “Access to our own quantum computing hardware will not only accelerate our understanding of quantum computing, but the computer’s room temperature operation will also give us the flexibility to use it in different locations for different requirements. .”
However, there is still much to learn about quantum computers.
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Winfried Hensinger, director of the Sussex Center for Quantum Technologies at the University of Sussex, explained that its full potential would take time to materialize.
He explained, “They can’t solve practical problems yet. They may allow you to evaluate the possibilities of working on a quantum computer if you could adapt this machine to very large systems.