A team of researchers at the Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck, Austria, say they have built a prototype for a compact quantum computer. The team is associated with the EU Flagship Quantum Technologies.
It’s so compact, the researchers are investigating whether it can be run on solar power.
According to a statement from the organization, the device is completely European.
“It is European born-and-bred. It is build with European parts and has demonstrated a world-class ability to entangle 24 qubits – a necessary condition for genuine quantum computations,” according to the statement.
It is designed to fit quantum-computing experiments into the smallest space possible.
The project to build the device is could move Europe from an over-reliance of services outside of the region.
According to the statement: “This quantum computer is available online to interested users, from individual to corporate users, through the AQT Cloud Access, and as such, it offers a competitive European alternative to the traditional big tech giants such as Google, IBM, or Alibaba. It also represents a great step forward in ensuring Europe’s technological sovereignty and reducing our dependency on foreign technology computing.”
This quantum computer design features low power consumption. It is currently estimated to use 1.5 kilowatts – or the same amount of energy needed to power a kettle. The researchers in the University of Innsbruck are exploring how to power the device using solar panels.
A range of use cases fits the device.
“All in all, this first computer with quantum acceleration could address industrial and public needs such as predicting the stability of complex molecules in chemistry for intelligent materials or vaccine development, or yet optimizing and saving energy distribution in complex grids,” the statement reads. “By offering the next generation of quantum capabilities and services in a secure, energy-efficient and sustainable manner, this quantum computer contributes directly to the objectives of the European Green Deal.”
Quantum computers could be tied to a grid of supercomputers, “forming ‘hybrid’ machines that blend the best of quantum and classical computing technologies.”
Ultimately, it’s more than a research device, according to the organization: “European industry and academia will enormously benefit, as quantum computers hold the promise to solve problems within minutes that are out of reach for today’s supercomputers because they would take millennia to solve.”
Matt Swayne is a contributor at The Quantum Daily. He focuses on breaking news about quantum discoveries and quantum computing. Matt enjoys working on -- and with -- startups and is currently working on a media studies master's degree, specializing in science communication.