Sunday February 05, 2017

Physicists Call for Soccer-Field-Sized Quantum Computer

This should probably be filed in the folder of things that are never going to happen, but I guess the scale that quantum computer engineers are thinking in is interesting. In order to crack "unsolvable problems," physicists claim you need a system the size of a sports stadium costing over $100 million dollars. Figuring out how to build a computer that large already seems like an unsolvable problem in itself, so this is quite the conundrum, isn’t it?

News Image

In Hensinger’s blueprint, thousands of hand-sized square modules would be yoked together to produce آ— in theory آ— a quantum computer of any size. Key to the design is how to overcome practical problems, such as how to dissipate the heat produced by the machine. "Such high-level issues are rarely considered by people in the field of quantum computing, either because they think it’s goofy to think that big, or because in their own physical system, it is nearly impossible to fathom such a high-level view," Monroe says. In each module, around 2,500 trapped-ion qubits would be suspended in magnetic fields, protected from interference that would affect their delicate quantum states. To perform operations, ions interact with their neighbours by shuttling about an x-shaped grid, similarly to PacMan characters.