The next stage of computerization will be quantum

If the computerization of businesses contributed greatly to the economic boom of the 1960s, the quantum computer seems to be the next major step in computing.

This was the big news last November: IBM unveiled its latest model of quantum computer, capable of using 433 qubits. But the most impressive was not there, the company claimed to have launched a 127-qubit circuit capable of running a large computer program. If the computerization of businesses contributed greatly to the economic boom of the 1960s, the quantum computer seems to be the next major step in computing.

An inexorable reality

Let’s face it, if certain technological leaps can have the effect of a wet firecracker, quantum technology is full of promise for industry and manufacturers such as BMW have not waited to integrate it into their production chain. .

The automotive sector uses many components that are transported by multiple suppliers and the optimal production speed is dependent on smooth delivery, so the German brand has been testing the quantum computer from the American company Honeywell since 2021. The company’s objective during the test phase was to study its supply chain in real time and optimize its production speed.

However, the integration of this technology requires special precautions for companies wishing to rub shoulders with it. The major challenge currently lies in the fact that qubits are very sensitive to interference: stimuli such as ambient noise, vibrations or temperature variations can cause them to lose their quantum properties in less than 100 microseconds. In other words, a quantum computer will not immediately find its place within a data center traditional. Meanwhile, the environment in which it is installed should be prepared accordingly. Thus, defining approaches for error correction represents an important part of the work of the research team.

Unparalleled technology

To understand the benefits that come with a quantum computer, it is important to know how to distinguish it from a binary computer. While the second uses classical bytes, a quantum computer uses the laws of quantum mechanics. Bytes only know states composed of a sequence of 1s and 0s. A quantum computer, on the other hand, uses quantum bytes. The qubit (short for quantum bit in English) is the smallest unit of calculation and information with which the computer works. Unlike bytes, a much larger amount of information can be represented or processed simultaneously in this format. This makes it possible to process huge amounts of data much faster – which represents enormous potential for the industry.

European countries are well aware of the importance of this technology. Germany has notably encouraged the acquisition in 2021 of the first quantum computer. The IBM Quantum System One research platform, a joint project by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft for Application-Oriented Research and IBM, has been set up in Ehningen, with the first quantum computer developed by the computer company. For the sum of 11,621 euros per month, the computer and its 27 qubits can be tested by companies. Furthermore, the German government continues to invest in this technology and has declared its intention to spend an additional two billion euros by 2025 in pursuit of this objective. A network dubbed the Munich Quantum Valley has also been created, made up of universities, research institutes and businesses. The main objective is to create a research center focusing on quantum computing and technologies (ZQQ) over the next five years.

France is not left out. Between the French unicorn Alice & Bob, and the government plans which provide for funding of up to two billion, France also wishes to position itself as a future leader in quantum computing.

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The next stage of computerization will be quantum

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