January 21, 2022

UAE Joins the Race of Producing a Quantum Computer

There have already been some major investments in quantum technology by countries, such as India, Canada, Japan, China, Germany, the United States, and several others. Now, it appears that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also decided to join the race in order to build up the expertise that’s needed for solving the kind of problems that can only be handled by the likes of quantum computers. The Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in Abu Dhabi has entered into a partnership with Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech, based in Barcelona. Together, they have founded the Quantum Research Centre (QRC), which is an international center that has been established for doing research into quantum technologies.

The chief researcher of the center is José Ignacio Latorre who is a full professor at the University of Barcelona where he teaches theoretical physics. He had taken a leave of absence in order to work on a couple of projects related to particle physics. The Advanced Technology Research Control (ATRC) was recently established in Abu Dhabi and TII is its dedicated pillar for ‘applied research. The secretary-general of ARTC, Faisal Al Bannai said that thanks to quantum computing, they are at the brink of a new era.

He said that they were proud of embarking on the journey of building such a machine that could come in handy in different fields, including making new materials, designing better batteries, discovering new medicines, and a number of applications of artificial intelligence as well. While quantum computers would not be able to perform most of the algorithms that are performed by supercomputers today, there are a number of problems that these quantum computers will be able to solve and do it quicker than supercomputers. As a matter of fact, there are some cases where supercomputers are so slow that they wouldn’t be able to find a solution, even in a billion years.

According to most experts, there are two practical applications that we can expect from quantum computers in a decade. The first is solving optimization problems and the second is simulating natural phenomena. The most attractive case of the latter is when quantum computers are used by pharmaceutical companies for stimulating biological molecules for developing new drugs quickly. As for the former, a good example is when a logistics company would have to identify the optimal routes for their fleet of trucks in order to make deliveries to dozens of cities.

The QRC is planning on working with other industrial partners and scientific institutes for conducting basic research and for launching projects that involve different kinds of quantum technologies. These include quantum sensing, quantum communications and quantum cryptography. However, a usable quantum computer would definitely be the most prominent output of the centre in the near future, which would use superconducting circuits, similar to the machines that have already been developed by IBM and Google. Finnish company Bluefors had developed a giant cryostat for keeping the circuits cool and down to superconducting temperatures and it was delivered in August 2021 to Abu Dhabi.

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