Efforts are under way to develop the world’s first operational quantum computers, which will mark a literal quantum leap forward in technology.
The Australian quantum computing startup Silicon Quantum Computing revealed Friday that it has constructed the world’s first atomic-scale integrated circuit that will power a new breed of computing machines.
While that’s an impressive feat by computer scientists from down under Sydney, its development was a remarkable two years ahead of schedule.
Almost 10 years have passed since SQC announced that its Australian engineers had created the world’s first single-atom transistor.
Quantum Computers: Ultra-Powerful Machines
In an interview with Patricia Karvelas of RN Breakfast, Michelle Simmons – the lead researcher at the University of New South Wales and founder of SQC – disclosed the technology had a vast number of potential applications, including the ability to design new materials, such as new types of drugs and molecules that could help increase food supply.
Quantum computers employ transistors to encode information in the same way that conventional computers do. In contrast to conventional computers, the size of a quantum computer’s transistor is comparable to that of a single atom.
Scientists warn that quantum computers may be capable of penetrating cryptographic encryption defenses. Image: Inc. Magazine.
A quantum computer follows a different set of rules than a classical computer, which is the primary distinction. It is capable of operating with qubits, as opposed to the bits and bytes used by conventional computers.
Qubits are composed of atoms, photons, electrons or ions, as well as their corresponding control devices, which operate as computer memory and a processor.
The Technology Can Be Commercialized In 5 Years
Possible applications for the most recent breakthrough include the construction of lighter and more powerful batteries for electric automobiles, solar panels, pharmaceuticals, and whole new materials and fertilizers to increase agricultural yield. In general, the computer can replicate natural elements.
According to Simmons, their invention might be commercialized in around five years.
“We were required to design with atomic precision. We are the only group capable of doing that… It is a tremendously exciting result, and… we have seen the classical roadmap and are aware of the commercial devices that will be available within five or six years.”
Meanwhile, the White House published last month a range of concepts aimed at maintaining the United States’ lead in the global race for quantum computing while limiting the threat posed by quantum devices that can break public-key cryptography.
Crypto total market cap at $910 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
Quantum Computers: A Threat To Cryptocurrency?
Numerous scientists warn that quantum computers may be able to break the cryptographic encryption that safeguards smartphones, bank accounts, email accounts, and crypto wallets.
In October 2021, U.S. intelligence officials identified quantum computing as one of the five most significant foreign threats. The last four were artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and biotechnology.
LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange network, speculated that quantum computers could breach the encryption methods that protect Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
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Featured image from New Scientist, chart from TradingView.com