Ministry of Defence purchases the first quantum computer for government

The first quantum computer has been acquired by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Ministry of Defence purchases the first quantum computer for government

The first quantum computer has been acquired by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Quantum computers are capable of performing complex calculations very quickly, and their creators claim they can solve problems that regular computers cannot.

The MoD and Orca Computing, a British company, will collaborate to investigate applications of quantum technology for defense.

Stephen Till of the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, (DSTL) called it a "milestone moment".

Most computers in our homes and workplaces process bits of data, which can have binary values of one or zero.

Quantum computers use instead a two-state unit called a qubit for data processing.

This can be used to represent digits such as one and zero simultaneously using a quantum mechanical process called supraposition. Quantum computers are able to bridge binary digits, and deal with uncertainty in a way that regular computers cannot.

Experts in quantum computing and physicists agree that this means that problems that have been resolved by computers over the years could be solved in minutes.

Professor Winfried Hensinger is the head of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies, University of Sussex. He says that quantum computers' true potential will only be realized over time.

They can't solve all practical problems. These computers allow you to gauge the potential benefits of working on a quantum computer if you are able to scale it to large systems sizes.

He also mentioned the potential of quantum computing and the MoD's exploration into it.

Prof Hensinger says quantum computing can disrupt almost any industry sector.

"Imagine that there are many problems in defense where optimization can play an important and significant role."

You might not be able to keep your friends' attention if you explain quantum computing at a party.

It is a complex concept that works in a totally different way than your phone, your laptop or your smartphone. Or even the supercomputers that can process insane amounts of data in a matter of seconds.

Quantum computing promises to solve problems that traditional computers cannot.

It is hoped that the technology will be used to fight climate change, develop new drugs, and improve artificial intelligence, and, in this instance, possibly support the military.

We are now at the point where standard computers are much less common and more cumbersome than in the past. This is due to the fact that their building blocks, qubits (or qubits), must be kept frozen.

Orca's machine doesn't require it, so the device can be smaller and more practical.

Richard Murray, chief executive officer of Orca Computing, stated that despite the debates over quantum computing's realities and capabilities, his company's cooperation with the MoD is a "significant gesture of confidence".

"Our partnership with MoD allows us the kind of hands-on interaction with real hardware that will allow us to discover new applications for this revolutionary new technology together."

The MoD will use Orca's PT-1 quantum computer. Orca claims that this is the first such computer to be able operate at room temperature.

Orca's machine learning system makes use of photons (or single units of light) to optimize tasks such as image analysis and decision making.

According to Mr Till, having access to Orca’s quantum computer will help the MoD understand the technology better.

He says, "We expect the Orca to provide significantly increased latency - speed at which it can read and write the quantum computer."

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