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Researchers Unveil First Ever Blueprint To Construct a Large Scale Quantum Computer (phys.org) 94

haruchai quotes a report from Phys.Org: An international team, led by a scientist from the University of Sussex, have today unveiled the first practical blueprint for how to build a quantum computer, the most powerful computer on Earth. The work features a new invention permitting actual quantum bits to be transmitted between individual quantum computing modules in order to obtain a fully modular large-scale machine capable of reaching nearly arbitrary large computational processing powers. Prof Hensinger said: "The availability of a universal quantum computer may have a fundamental impact on society as a whole. Without doubt it is still challenging to build a large-scale machine, but now is the time to translate academic excellence into actual application building on the UK's strengths in this ground-breaking technology. I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen." The computer's possibilities for solving, explaining or developing could be endless. However, its size will be anything but small. The machine is expected to fill a large building, consisting of sophisticated vacuum apparatus featuring integrated quantum computing silicon microchips that hold individual charged atoms (ions) using electric fields. The plans for creating a universal quantum computer has been published in the journal Science Advances.
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Researchers Unveil First Ever Blueprint To Construct a Large Scale Quantum Computer

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  • by ssufficool ( 1836898 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @09:18PM (#53785797)

    Quantum computers are built for specific workloads. Citing this as potentially the worlds fastest computer is misleading. It more than likely will not be a general purpose computer.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @09:20PM (#53785803)
      Not general purpose...fills a whole building...first of its kind...should we call it QUANTIAC?
      • by WarJolt ( 990309 )

        A quantum instruction is still issue by a classical computer and the results of computation are stored in a classical computer. The instructions that are issued are quantum instructions that can solve a very specific part of a problem that can be solved on a quantum computer far more efficiently than on a classical computer. Not all problems fall into this category.

        Classical computers turn on and off circuits to do different kinds of computation. The quantum computer does the same thing, but turning on the

      • .should we call it QUANTIAC?

        Well it does use a "sophisticated vacuum apparatus" - it all checks out.

      • Ezekiel 23:20

        Nice sig. I just found a new favorite Bible verse.

      • I'm glad the young folks of today will get to act like us old-timers in the future.

        "Why, I remember when Quantum Computers used to take up WHOLE BUILDINGS! Now you kids wear them around your wrists! You don't know how good you've got it."

      • by abmw ( 2668449 )
        "...Oh Deep thought, we have worked so long and laboured for you to tell us the ultimate answer to Life the Universe and Everything....."
      • ...fills a whole building...first of its kind...

        Everyone knows that a larger quantum computer already exists in a location in the US. But that was a private government construction and did not require public funding or press releases to be built.

    • by alexo ( 9335 )

      I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen

      Translation: it will be used to break encryption and end privacy.

      • I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen Alternative Translation: We'll all pay $50 billion dollars for it, it'll go 16 years over the scheduled timeline, and barely work, being less powerful than a Fitbit. Kinda like the border wall Clinton and Schumer voted for a decade ago, which will start being built maybe next year. Government - the original Kickstarter scam.
        • I would much rather see $50 billion spent on a speculative quantum computer than on a wall with Mexico. Even if it doesn't work or is "less powerful than a Fitbit," there will be lessons learned pointing to ways to making it work, and probably far more important, there will be spin-off technology that could dramatically improve our lives in ways not yet known. With a $50 billion Wall, not so much.
      • I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen

        Translation: it will be used to break encryption and end privacy.

        It will not break all encryption, just careless standard ciphers.

        Two creative parties communicating with a pre-arranged scheme should still be safe from eavesdroppers.

        The fact that everybody, everywhere, sends photos and videos all over the place all the time makes finding and decoding hidden messages very challenging, even with a quantum computer.

        • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

          Awesome, I'll need a hardware key for each of the companies I do business with online. That'll be swell.

          Not at first, when this is the size of a building and a huge project, but if it works, very likely within my lifetime.

          • Ultimately your hardware key is just a fancy case restricting use of a good old factorization is hard based key the same as any other.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, as usual in such press-releases. I am also more than a bit doubtful about the scaling properties. If you have "modules" in a QC, then you do not have a larger QC, but several smaller ones, a bit similar to a multi-core CPU. Two 32 bit CPUs do not make a 64 bit CPU, similarly with QCs. As QCs scale meaningfully only with the number of entangled bits (you cannot break down computations into ones using smaller data-types), this seems a bit pointless.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Most multiple particle entanglement sources are done with processes that produce a pair of entangled photons, and then uses them separately to produce more pairs with a desired global correlated state. That is perfectly suitable for modules, as each module could output the entangled pair. Then either you use those to produce more entangled paits in another two modules or couple them to trapped atoms or whatever you're to store the states during computation in a different pair of modules.

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        Two 32 bit CPUs do not make a 64 bit CPU

        But two 32 bit ALUs do make a 64 bit ALU.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Only if you have chaining-connections and for multiplication and division, not even then.

    • The word "fastest" does not appear in the summary or in TFA.

    • Maybe they'll plan on also putting the most regular processors on it too so it will be the fastest all around? I assume it needs some more conventional computer parts on it as well. Would kind of be a waste to hook a quantum processor-thingy up to an apple IIe.

      I mean, I would just to be sure that even if the quantum computer achieves sentience and is able to go skynet, we'd be able to handle it in a reasonable timeframe by ripping out the "Oregon trail" floppy disk, but I don't know much about computing
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @09:50PM (#53785913)

    ...Both welcome and condemn our new quantum overlords.

  • by Patent Lover ( 779809 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @10:34PM (#53786073)
    It will be used to unlock a few phones which will hold no useful information.
    • When it bluescreens, some part of the multiverse will wink out of existence.
    • It will be used to unlock a few phones which will hold no useful information.

      More than a few.... think all.

      • Not sure why you think this. Quantum computers are not especially strong at breaking symmetric cryptography, which is what locks phones. There is some advantage that you gain from a quantum computer due to Grover's algorithm, but considering that it will process much slower than our best classical computers it will probably even out in the end.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Prof Winfried Hensinger (2), head of Ion Quantum Technology Group (3) at the University of Sussex, who has been leading this research, said: "For many years, people said that it was completely impossible to construct an actual quantum computer. With our work we have not only shown that it can be done but now we are delivering a nuts and bolts construction plan to build an actual large-scale machine."

    Nah, we think you built another analogue computer, and branded it 'Quantum' while it doesn't actually use ent

  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @10:53PM (#53786151)

    In the current political climate, a computer that can simultaneously deal with facts and unfacts may have useful applications. In the past, we only needed to keep track of real data. Going forward, it seems we need to simultaneously handle both actual data and what the user wants to be the actual data. Being able to draw conclusions from the superposition of both versions of reality needs to be extended from social media into practical applications.

    • In the current political climate, a computer that can simultaneously deal with facts and unfacts may have useful applications. In the past, we only needed to keep track of real data. Going forward, it seems we need to simultaneously handle both actual data and what the user wants to be the actual data. Being able to draw conclusions from the superposition of both versions of reality needs to be extended from social media into practical applications.

      We are actually living the endgame of the Matrix... humans aren't just used for power, their collective perception of the Matrix is solving real-world problems. The incorporation of Alternate Facts into the collective consciousness is a testbed for a physical quantum computer that the overlords are designing.

    • Humans are those computers.

      Your assertion that we only needed to keep track of "real data" is so deeply assumptive, naive, and flawed I am surprised you can feed yourself. Anything from history and news to what happened on the way to work, even something as simple as an interaction between two people, is and always has been subject to spin, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, misrepresentation, error, and good old deliberate lies. There is always a difference between what actually happened and the story

  • Obligatory SMBC (Score:5, Informative)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @11:55PM (#53786313)

    This comic [smbc-comics.com] is a more in-depth yet accessible explanation of quantum computers than anything I'd ever read on Slashdot.

  • ... how fast will it play ARMA3?
  • However, its size will be anything but small. The machine is expected to fill a large building,

    That's OK. To (mis)quote Thomas Watson, I doubt the world will need more than 5 quantum computers.

    • However, its size will be anything but small. The machine is expected to fill a large building,

      That's OK. To (mis)quote Thomas Watson, I doubt the world will need more than 5 quantum computers.

      Surely you only need one - it could perform all possible computations at once.

    • Yeah, but in 2049 the wrist-worn iQuantum (TM) will only have one button, and no headphone jack.
  • "Researchers Unveil First Ever Blueprint To Construct a Large Scale Quantum Computer" - or not???
  • The plans for creating a universal quantum computer have been published in the journal Science Advances.
  • If you take just one piece of information from this blog: Quantum computers would not solve hard search problems instantaneously by simply trying all the possible solutions at once.
  • Can we call it ENIAC too? I mean, ENIAC 2?

    And in 20-25 years, the desktop will be a PQC - Personal Quantum Computer!

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