What is Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing is essentially the harnessing and exploitation of the amazing laws of quantum mechanics to process information. A traditional computer uses long strings of “bits”, which encode either a “0” or a “1”. A quantum computer however, uses quantum bits or “qubits”. This means they have the potential to process exponentially more information compared to classical computers.

The Machine

Complex problems require powerful computing.
We make it possible for everyone to think bigger, create faster, and see further. Quantum systems provide us with the power to solve the world’s most important and pressing problems.

1 / Shell

When the computer is operational, it is encased in five casings (like the white one shown at the top of the image) which wrap around the machine. These fit inside each other and act as thermal shields, keeping everything at sub-zero temperatures and vacuum-sealed inside.

2 / Skeleton

The gold plates separate the cooling zones. In the first chamber the temperature is just below absolute zero. At the bottom, the chamber plunges to one-hundredth of a kelvin, hundreds of times as cold as outer space.

3 / Heart

Beneath the heat exchangers sits the “mixing chamber”. Which houses different forms of liquid helium, helium-3 and helium-4, which together through separation and evaporation diffuses the heat.

4 / Brain

The QPU (quantum processing unit) features a gold-plated copper disk with a silicon chip inside that contains the machine’s ‘brain’.

5 / Nerves

The coils in these photon-carrying cables are more than just a decorative finish. They ease the stresses that results from supercooling the interior. Without the coils, the data cables would break.

1 / Shell

When the computer is operational, it is encased in five casings (like the white one shown at the top of the image) which wrap around the machine. These fit inside each other and act as thermal shields, keeping everything at sub-zero temperatures and vacuum-sealed inside.

2 / Skeleton

The gold plates separate the cooling zones. In the first chamber the temperature is just below absolute zero. At the bottom, the chamber plunges to one-hundredth of a kelvin, hundreds of times as cold as outer space.

3 / Heart

Beneath the heat exchangers sits the “mixing chamber”. Which houses different forms of liquid helium, helium-3 and helium-4, which together through separation and evaporation diffuses the heat.

4 / Brain

The QPU (quantum processing unit) features a gold-plated copper disk with a silicon chip inside that contains the machine’s ‘brain’.

5 / Nerves

The coils in these photon-carrying cables are more than just a decorative finish. They ease the stresses that results from supercooling the interior. Without the coils, the data cables would break.

Why is Quantum Different?

The Qubit

Now quantum computing has become a reality, it is useful for us to understand both how they function and how they are different from a traditional computer. The first thing to bear in mind is that they use different basic units of data: “bits” and “qubits”. Every element of a classical computer is written in binary code (1 and 0) and is translated into electricity: high voltage is represented by 1, and low voltage by 0. In quantum computing, qubits are the basic unit and their value can be 1, 0, or 1 and 0 simultaneously, overlapping and intertwining according to the laws of physics. This means that qubits, as opposed to bits, can take on various values at one time and can perform calculations that a conventional computer cannot.

Superposition

Superposition

One of the properties that sets a qubit apart from a classical bit is that it can be in superposition. Superposition is one of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. In classical physics, a wave describing a musical tone can be seen as several waves with different frequencies that are added together, superposed. Similarly, a quantum state in superposition can be seen as a linear combination of other distinct quantum states. This quantum state in superposition forms a new valid quantum state.

Entanglement

Entanglement

Quantum entanglement occurs when qubits interact in such a way that the quantum state of each cannot be described independently of the others, even if the qubits are physically far apart.

Powerful Computing

Think bigger, create faster and achieve more with quantum computing. With the computational powers of quantum computers, businesses and industries will be changed, forever.

We experience the benefits of classical computing every day. However, there are some challenges that today’s systems will never be able to solve. For problems above a certain size and complexity, we do not have enough computational power on Earth to tackle them.

To stand a chance at solving these problems, we need a new kind of computing. Universal quantum computers leverage the quantum mechanical phenomena of superposition and entanglement to create states that scale exponentially with the number of qubits, or quantum bits.