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article imageBritish government invests $193 million in quantum computing

By Tim Sandle     Jun 13, 2019 in Technology
London - The quest for “quantum supremacy”, to develop 'true' quantum computers that can do anything far faster than an ordinary computer and more, is playing out on the global stage. The U.K. government, keen to be part of this, has pledged a considerable sum
The British government has announced a £153 million ($193 million) investment designed to back efforts to commercialize quantum computing. To add to this, there are further commitments from different industry partners to the tune of a further $440 million. The government declaration forms part of the National Quantum Technologies Programme, which is a fund that's building up to £1 billion in investments designed to place the U.K. at the forefront of the quantum revolution.
READ MORE: New world record set for quantum memory efficiency
While IBM and Intel have announced that they have made quantum computers with 50 and 49 qubits, quantum computing is a 'work in progress', before machines become truly powerful developers need to overcome a number of fundamental roadblocks.
Fifty qubits is generally considered as the lowest number at which quantum computing stands as capable of undertaking calculations that would take an unfeasibly long time classically. At 100 qubits a single quantum computer processor would, theoretically, be more powerful than all the supercomputers on the planet combined. A qubit is the basic unit of quantum information, represented by a two-state quantum-mechanical system, able to exist in two states at the same time.
READ MORE: Microsoft open-sources quantum computing development kit
With the new U.K. investment announcement, Conservative Party Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: "Quantum is no longer an experimental science for the U.K. Investment by government and businesses is paying off, as we become one of the world’s leading nations for quantum science and technologies. Now industry is turning what was once a futuristic pipedream into life-changing products.... [we're] taking the most innovative ideas from our world-leading researchers and showing how they can be applied, from diagnosing diseases to detecting gas leaks."
Some of the technologies that the funding and associated research is being directed towards include:
Quantum timing devices.
Quantum gravity sensing devices.
Quantum positioning systems.
Quantum secure communications.
Quantum enhanced imaging.
Quantum computers.
For governments like the U.K. (and similarly with the U.S., as Digital Journal reported last year), quantum computing obviously opens up a number of economic opportunities.
More about quantum computing, Quantum, Computers
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