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Quantum Technology Set to Hit the Streets Within Two Years

By New Scientist

October 19, 2015

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The United Kingdom kicked off an initiative in 2013 that could result in the development of the world's most powerful quantum computer by 2020. The basic science has progressed far enough to make this vision a reality, says Ian Walmsley, head of the quantum computing hub at the University of Oxford.

Walmsley and colleagues are working on a system based on trapped ions, and within two years plan to build a 20-qubit device. By the end of the five-year program, the team plans to connect up to 20 of the devices to a 400-qubit processor. "That's big enough to do a number of things that supercomputers can't currently do," Walmsley says.

Since the computer is designed as a network, the qubit cells could potentially be scattered around the country, creating a kind of quantum cloud computer that many people can access. "What's available in the lab is already of the right performance," Walmsley says. "If we can show that one of these small-scale things works, then there is no barrier to scaling it up, other than manufacturing more components."

Meanwhile, University of York researchers are building quantum key distribution networks over optical fibers around Bristol and Cambridge, which could be available to the public in two years.

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