PRESS RELEASE — VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland announced today that the country’s first operational 5-qubit quantum computer is up and running. Together with the quantum computing hardware startup IQM, VTT has taken its first steps to enable the building of quantum computers that will be both scalable and easier to manufacture, allowing more companies to begin their quantum computing journey.
The incredible computing performance of quantum computers makes it possible to solve problems that are beyond the capabilities of modern high-performance computers. In the future, quantum computers will be used, for instance, to accurately model viruses and drugs or used to design materials that are challenging to design with today’s technology.
“The development of quantum computing will affect all industries. Our experience in building the quantum computer, and our know-how in developing quantum algorithms will help us develop quantum foresight to, for example, identify future trends and support companies in understanding how and when their business will be affected,” says Pekka Pursula, Research Manager at VTT. “The best way to do this will be for companies to work together with VTT, and actually use our new hardware.”
The now-unveiled 5-qubit quantum computer is located at Micronova, part of OtaNano, the national research infrastructure for micro and nanotechnology, jointly run by VTT and Aalto University.
The big challenge in quantum computing is scalability. Quantum physicists and engineers around the world are trying to figure out how to scale quantum computing hardware to include hundreds and thousands of qubits, scale up the production in an economically efficient way, and scale algorithms and use of quantum computing in real-life applications.
VTT has 30 years of expertise in quantum technology research and excellent facilities to work on hardware scaling. The scaling of the use requires VTT to work hand-in-hand with the companies to develop algorithms for specific applications.
“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for IQM and for the European quantum initiatives. With the completion of this phase, IQM will become one of the very few quantum companies that can deliver an on-premises quantum computer to a customer. I congratulate our partners, VTT and also the entire IQM team who has managed to deliver this ambitious milestone during the pandemic. This is just the first phase of the delivery and because of our ability to upgrade the systems, we are looking forward to working with VTT on delivering the 20-qubit and the 50-qubit systems,” says Jan Goetz, CEO and Co-founder of IQM.
The 5-qubit quantum computer is part of a larger initiative. VTT and IQM aim to build together a much more powerful 50-qubit quantum computer by 2024 and further develop Finland’s long-lasting technology and expertise in quantum computing.
The country already has an active research community called InstituteQ – of which VTT, Aalto University, and Helsinki University are the founding members – which is focused on developing world-class quantum expertise. BusinessQ network supports companies in incorporating quantum technology into their business, enabling growth for the Finnish society.
Quantum computing is a type of computation that harnesses the collective properties of quantum states, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement, to perform calculations. The devices that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers. Though current quantum computers are too small to outperform usual (classical) computers for practical applications, they are believed to be capable of solving certain computational problems, such as integer factorization (which underlies RSA encryption), substantially faster than classical computers. The study of quantum computing is a subfield of quantum information science.