Glasgow-based M Squared has revealed a prototype of the UK’s first commercial neutral atom quantum computer.
Demonstrated today at the National Quantum Technologies Showcase, the Maxwell system represents a key UK milestone in progressing commercially-viable quantum hardware.
The National Quantum Technologies Showcase is an event that demonstrates the technological progress arising from the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme – a £1bn collaboration between industry, academia and government.
Quantum computers have the potential to completely supersede current binary systems, performing calculations much faster by processing using qubits – the basic unit of quantum information. The combination of qubits and their superposition properties means they can process information much faster than the logic gates used on today’s semiconductors and microchips.
While industries including pharmaceuticals, aerospace, transport and finance are set to benefit most, the technology is anticipated to help accelerate the discovery of new drug treatments, improve the efficiency of global supply chains and cut road traffic in towns and cities.
Maxwell’s capabilities make it ideal for tackling the complex optimisation problems that quantum computing is set to address. Its core neutral atom system architecture was developed by M Squared in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde through the EPSRC Prosperity Partnership, which is developing neutral atom system hardware and related algorithm advances.
It was built through the combined capabilities in advanced laser systems and quantum system integration of M Squared, with the Rydberg atom and quantum algorithm expertise at Strathclyde.
The platform is underpinned by industrial-grade photonics equipment, which uses powerful lasers to cool atoms so they can be precisely controlled, maximising qubit scalability and fidelity.
Dr Graeme Malcolm, founder and chief executive of M Squared, said: “Quantum computation is not simply a faster implementation of conventional computing, but a fundamentally new and more powerful way of processing information – one that will enable myriad of new applications.
“The collaborative efforts to realise the potential of quantum computing illustrate Britain’s unique strength in bringing together industry and academia – building on advancements at the frontier of science, out of the laboratory to create real-world applications for the betterment of society.”
Dr Jonathan Pritchard, project lead and a reader in the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, said: “Neutral atom approaches to quantum information processing offer unique advantages towards scalable and flexible computing platforms.
“The unrivalled performance of M Squared’s underpinning technology is a great platform for pushing the limits of these devices in our lab.”
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