Researchers believe that by working together, quantum computers and traditional high-performance computers could tackle problems that neither machine can solve alone.
Researchers in Finland have combined a quantum computer with Europe’s most powerful supercomputer in a bid to open up new avenues of science.
The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland connected its Helmi quantum computer with the pan-European supercomputer Lumi, which is based in Finland’s CSC IT Centre for Science.
Unlike a classical computer that uses binary bits, which can be either one or zero, a quantum computer uses quantum bits, which can be one, zero or both at the same time. This means quantum computers can solve certain types of problems much faster than a conventional computer.
VTT said these powerful machines still need supervision by traditional computers and researchers believe the new combination will enable the best possible use of the quantum computer’s power.
They envision a future where quantum computers and traditional high-performance computers work together, tackling difficult problems that neither machine can solve alone.
“VTT wants to do applied research using the quantum computer and learn more about these possibilities,” VTT research manager Pekka Pursula said.
“We see great potential in quantum computing for accelerating innovation for the benefit of companies and the whole society.”
VTT plans to use the new hybrid system for various computing projects, exploring the potential this technology has for solving real-world issues.
The Finnish research centre said this is the first hybrid undertaking of its kind in Europe. CSC quantum strategist Mikael Johansson expressed excitement at the potential of this system.
“Quantum computers are in many respects strange and unfamiliar, and it will be exciting to see how our customers end up using them,” Johansson said. “New technology tends to find uses in areas no one even thought of before.”
Helmi is a relative small quantum computer with a power of five qubits. VTT said it is currently developing a 20 qubit quantum computer, with a 50 qubit upgrade planned for 2024.
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