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DOE pushes for useful quantum computing

Science

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is joining the quest to develop quantum computers, devices that would exploit quantum mechanics to crack problems that overwhelm conventional computers. The initiative comes as Google and other companies race to build a quantum computer that can demonstrate "quantum supremacy" by beating classical computers on a test problem. But reaching that milestone will not mean practical uses are at hand, and the new $40 million DOE effort is intended to spur the development of useful quantum computing algorithms for its work in chemistry, materials science, nuclear physics, and particle physics. With the resources at its 17 national laboratories, DOE could play a key role in developing the machines, researchers say, although finding problems with which quantum computers can help isn't so easy.


Why AI still needs us: To build quantum computers

PCWorld

Quantum mechanics are notoriously mind-bending because so-called "qubits" -- the atomic-scale building blocks of quantum computers -- can inhabit more than one physical state at once. That's known as superposition, and it's what gives the prospect of quantum computers their exciting potential. It's just potential at this point, however, because there are still many, many challenges to be solved before we can create a working quantum computer. A recent study focused on the game Quantum Moves, which is based on a real problem in quantum computing. Essentially, players are asked to move an atom among wells in an egg-carton-like container without disturbing the delicate quantum state.


Why AI still needs us: To build quantum computers

#artificialintelligence

We humans may still be licking our wounds following AI's victory at the ancient game of Go, but it turns out we still have something to be proud of: We're doing a lot better than machines are at solving some of the key problems of quantum computing. Quantum mechanics are notoriously mind-bending because so-called "qubits" -- the atomic-scale building blocks of quantum computers -- can inhabit more than one physical state at once. That's known as superposition, and it's what gives the prospect of quantum computers their exciting potential. It's just potential at this point, however, because there are still many, many challenges to be solved before we can create a working quantum computer. That's where gaming comes in.


Google has reached quantum supremacy – here's what it should do next

New Scientist

Quantum computing is now ready to go – or is it? Google appears to have reached an impressive milestone known as quantum supremacy, where a quantum computer is able to perform a calculation that is practically impossible for a classical one. But there are plenty of hurdles left to jump over before the technology hits the big time. For a start, the processors need to be more powerful. Unlike classical computers, which store data as either a 0 or a 1, quantum computers use qubits that store data as a mixture of these two states.


Quantum supremacy: What can we do with a quantum computer?

New Scientist

It could still be decades before we have a quantum computer that can do anything useful, but once we get there, what will we use them for? The first use could be in chemistry. As the physicist Richard Feynman once said, "Nature isn't classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you'd better make it quantum mechanical."