Researchers at the University of Innsbruck have developed a compact quantum computer. The prototype of the ion trap quantum computer has 24 qubits and fits into two 19-inch standard server racks. Its performance is said to be comparable to larger, sometimes laboratory-filling, quantum computers. The computer was created in the context of the EU project AQTION and could bring quantum computers into existing data centers – and thus be a step towards mass compatibility of the new computer architecture.
Naturally, the participating engineers from the Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck had to greatly reduce the size of the components of a classic quantum computer: a significantly compressed vacuum chamber and ion trap, developed by the spin-off company from the University of Alpine Quantum Technologies, work in the heart of the computer. The researchers are currently able to individually control 24 quantum bits in the compact quantum computer, and they want to increase this number to 50 next year.
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The team’s goal was to show that “compactness does not have to come at the expense of functionality,” said Innsbruck researcher Christian Marciniak. This has succeeded, the computer currently fulfills the norms and standards customary in the industry in the smallest possible space. It works independently and will soon also be programmable online. A particular difficulty was the shielding of the computer against external interference, which is necessary for a safe and reliable operation of quantum computers. Amazingly, this is like it in the university’s news report means successful. The researchers describe the technical implementation in detail in one Journal article.
Several new offers for the practical use of quantum computers are currently seeing the light of day: A week ago, IBM opened its Q System One quantum computer for industrial use in Ehningen. Meanwhile, Google made IonQ’s ion trap calculator accessible for remote access via the cloud.