September 7, 2015
Chip giant Intel recently threw its hat into the quantum computer ring when it announced plans to invest $50 million in Netherlands-based QuTech, an institute launched in 2013 by Delft University of Technology and the Dutch Organization for Applied Research. The investment is part of a planned 10-year collaboration with QuTech. Researchers from leading tech companies such as Google, IBM and Microsoft have been looking to apply quantum physics to computing for a long time.
As an alternative to using binary digits of conventional computers, quantum bits (qubits) can represent a 1 and 0 simultaneously.
“A related goal is to make qubits reach what scientists call an entangled state, acting like they are connected while remaining physically apart,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “If that happens, proponents say quantum computers could carry out many more calculations simultaneously than today’s fastest computers.”
Intel and QuTech are especially interested in “applying quantum technology to problems such as simulating the structure and behavior of molecules in ways that aren’t feasible now,” notes WSJ. According to Lieven Vandersypen, a lead scientist at QuTech, “There are many materials that are too complex for an ordinary computer to help us understand their properties.”
Vandersypen suggests that scientists could develop superconducting materials that could be used to carry electricity over distances more efficiently.
Mike Mayberry, who helps lead Intel’s research into future technologies, believes another application could involve advancements in making and breaking codes, which would have an impact on commercial and national security.