August 4, 2021


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Technology – The first commercial quantum computer has arrived in Europe – what does that mean?

Europe’s first commercial quantum computer was unveiled – outside the lab – in Baden-Württemberg on Tuesday. Germany thus moves to the next stage in the race to find solutions in quantum computing applications. In the end, the point is that these special computers take on the tasks that today’s supercomputers fail. Here is some information about the technology of increasing importance.

Quantum computers and ordinary computers differ in structure, elements, and above all in performance. While classical computers work with qubits that can only assume two states, quantum computers use qubits, or “qubits” for short. You can think of qubits as spinning particles. They can be in different states at the same time, which makes it much faster. In addition, skills increase exponentially with the increase of qubits. “A quantum computer is particularly well suited to solving increasingly complex problems,” says IBM quantum expert Heike Riel.

There are different ways to generate qubits. Similar to Google and Rigetti, IBM relies on quantum processors based on superconductors. Their drawback is that they have to be cooled a lot. Other quantum computers rely on ion traps, where the challenge is that as many as possible must be fused together. Honeywell and US startup IonQ are working on it, for example. Another approach is quantum computers based on optical qubits, potentially operating at room temperature and also being developed in Germany.

There are many application areas for quantum computers. They range from pharmaceuticals and mechanical engineering to financial and military mathematics. Gradually, business models are also emerging. “Now is the time companies are thinking about where they can use quantum computers to solve problems. And that takes time, also because skills have to be created first,” Riel says. On the one hand, there is still a shortage of quantum experts, and on the other hand, the skills must be created. Simplify use with software. For now, you must have at least mastered the Python programming language in order to be active.

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– After European suppliers of large technology groups fled the USA and Asia in many areas, this should not happen with quantum technology. To this end, companies such as Volkswagen, Saab and Siemens have joined forces to form the Qutac Group in order to work together on practical applications. “Together we want to make Germany sovereign in the field of quantum computing and thus strengthen Europe as a commercial location,” the statement said.