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Quantum Brilliance unveils server-sized Quantum computer

Written by Tue 6 Apr 2021

Company’s new quantum accelerators are the size of a regular PC or server

Quantum Brilliance, an Australian and German startup company, has announced a quantum computer the size of a 19-inch server rack module. The first of these ‘quantum accelerators’ will be installed at the Pawsey Supercomputing Center in Australia in June 2021.

Typical quantum computers are the size of old-fashioned mainframe computers, comprised of a large number of qubits working together to maximize processing power. Quantum Brilliance, instead, takes the approach of building smaller units, the quantum accelerator, which contains only 5 qubits apiece. However, units can be linked together to increase quantum processing – making it a far more flexible solution than the quantum mainframe.

Quantum accelerators are easier to operate and maintain as well. Quantum mainframes require a room full of controls and must be kept at freezing cold temperatures to function properly. The new quantum accelerators, however, are the size of a regular PC or server and operate at room temperature.

Quantum edge

Because quantum accelerators have requirements that are similar to regular computers and servers, the technology will be accessible to a variety of companies and locations that do not have the room or the infrastructure to support mainframe-sized equipment. Quantum solutions can be applied to a variety of challenges that would have been impractical before, including quantum edge computing.

The technology behind Quantum Brilliance has actually been in use since 2001. It takes advantage of a defect in diamonds, where the crystals are missing a carbon atom but have an extra atom of nitrogen – called a ‘nitrogen-vacancy center,’ which acts as a qubit. Prior investigations of this technology resulted in a barrier in scaling to a useful degree, but Quantum Brilliance’s approach of creating interconnected networks of smaller units appears to have overcome the challenge.

Marcus Doherty, chief scientific officer at Quantum Brilliance described the company’s approach. “Instead of a single large quantum computer with many qubits, one can think about small but many quantum computers that might not have as many qubits as a large quantum mainframe, but can still provide a quantum advantage for select tasks.”

And while the current quantum accelerators are server-sized, and operate at 5 qubits apiece, Doherty believes this is just the beginning.

“In five years’ time, it will be the size of a graphics card, with 50-plus qubits.”

This amount of processing power, available in a flexible, scalable solution that can be deployed at the edge, could revolutionize a variety of industries. Healthcare companies would be able to use quantum calculations for diagnostics and imaging with on-site quantum accelerators to improve patient care and eliminate the need to transfer sensitive patient data for off-site evaluation. Pharmaceutical research and development could shorten the long lifecycle of experimentation and testing and drastically improve the speed-to-market of new drugs and treatments. It can even be applied to improve the agile decision-making and environmental data gathering to support autonomous vehicles.

According to Doherty, “Quantum computers are very good at explorations of possible sequences of events and identifying what are the most likely and what are the most dangerous sequences of events. So if you have a neural net or other simulators that can analyze a current situation and simulate likely possible futures, a quantum accelerator can search through that and figure out the most likely and most dangerous futures.”

The first generation of quantum accelerators are now available for order, with initial deliveries expected for early summer 2021.

Written by Tue 6 Apr 2021


quantum computing
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