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Current Affairs

IBM to build qubit system

Date: 23 September 2020 Tags: IT, Mobile & Computers

Issue

IBM has said it will build Quantum Condor, a 1121 qubit quantum computer, by the end of 2023. The company claims the system can control behaviour of atoms to run applications, and generate world-changing materials to transform industries. 

 

Background

Quantum computers will likely deliver tremendous speed, and will help in solving problems related to optimisation in defence, finance, and other industries.

 

Details

  • IBM says its full-stack quantum computer can be deployed via cloud, and that it can be programmed from any part of the world.

  • The technology company is developing a “super-fridge,” internally codenamed “Goldeneye,” to house the computer. The 10-foot-tall and 6-foot-wide refrigerator is being designed for a million-qubit system.

 

Quantum Computing

  • Quantum computers process data exponentially faster than personal computers do. They deploy non-intuitive methods, coupled with lots of computing, to solve intractable problems. These machines operate using qubits, similar to bits in personal computers.

  • A classical computer tries solving a problem intuitively. If they are given a command, they attempt every possible move, one after another, turning back at dead ends, until they find a solution.

  • Quantum computers deploy ‘superposition’ to solve problems. This allows them to exist in multiple states, and test all possible ways at once. And qubits, the fundamental units of data in quantum computing, enables these machines to compute this way.

  • In regular computers, bits have either 0 or 1 value, and they come in four possible combinations - - 00, 01, 10, 11. Only one combination can exist at a single point of time, which limits processing speed.

  • But, in quantum machines, two qubits can represent same values, and all four can exist at the same time. This helps these systems to run faster.

  • An ordinary 64-bit computer would take hundred years to cycle through these combinations. And that’s exactly why quantum computers are being built: to solve intractable problems and break-down theories that are practically impossible for classical computers.

 

Challenges in Quantum computing

  • One of the key challenges for processing in qubits is the possibility of losing data during transition. Additionally, assembling qubits, writing and reading information from them is a difficult task.

  • The fundamental units demand special attention, including a perfect isolation and a thermostat set of one hundredth of a degree above absolute zero.

  • Despite strict monitoring, due to their highly sensitive nature, they can lose superposition even from a slightest variation. This makes programming very tricky.

  • Since quantum computers are programmed using a sequence of logic gates of various kinds, programmes need to run quickly before qubits lose coherence. The combination of superposition and entanglement makes this process a whole lot harder.