When lowering the temperature by one degree saves you millions of dollars: this is quantum computing

Quantum Computing Is Here! But Also Not Really | WIRED

A simple change, a detail that seems seemingly insignificant, maybe the trigger for a new revolution in technology. This world is this amazing, a small advance like the one made in a quantum computing project would help save millions of dollars and simplify the design of quantum computers.

When the media talks about quantum computing, we tend to echo its power, its advances in data processing, and its ability to solve problems much faster, but today the news is focused on another, lesser-known quality. Today the protagonist is the temperature that these machines withstand.

The world of quantum computing is very sensitive to temperature, due to the high heat produced by the operation of machines. Until now it was necessary to keep them at really low temperatures: to carry out operations in qubits it is necessary to reach a whopping 273 degrees below zero or, in other words, 0 degrees Kelvin. But a new project has found a way to work with quantum bits at temperatures up to 15 times higher.

The project and its results have been published this week in the journal Nature and represent a substantial change in this change in technological innovation. In reality, it is a very modest modification, the researchers have only raised the temperature one and a half Kelvin more, that is, from -0.1ºK to 1.5ºK (from -273.15º C to -272.15ºC).

Cracking the uncertainty around quantum computing - Information Age

"It is still very cold," admitted Andrew Dzurak, professor at the University of New South Wales to El Mundo, but that little increase in temperature would save millions of euros in the cooling systems of these machines. Moreover, within the project, there are two teams, one in Australia and one in the Netherlands, and the Europeans have managed to reach -1.1ºK, that is, they have increased the temperature 50 times more without losing the performance of the quantum computer.

Qubits are refrigerated with two types of helium isotopes. One of these types can only be produced inside nuclear reactors to keep that temperature of 0 degrees Kelvin. The cost is immense since the qubits must be cooled at the same time as the thousands of cables that connect them with traditional chips. "It is physically impossible and an engineering nightmare," Professor Dzurak told Australian media outlet ABC, "The idea now is that we can get a much more miniaturized, much more manageable and cheaper system."

Smaller and integrated machines
Another change that this innovation brings is the restructuring of the components. Until now qubits have been isolated from the rest of the traditional components. However, the Dutch research centre, QuTech, has collaborated with Intel to control quantum controllers from a silicon chip. The future? Create an integrated quantum circuit, simplifying these computing beasts.

What is a quantum computer? | New Scientist

The amount of data and operations that quantum computing is capable of processing are crucial in times like this when the world's great computers work to find the solution to the terrible pandemic that the entire world is suffering.

With this project, we know that with time the use of quantum computing will not be so expensive, but to get to see it there is still much ahead, this research project is a small step that actually opens a long way ahead.

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