on March 7th, 2016

One small step for quantum technology, one giant leap for MIT. Quantum engineering is always being reupholstered due to newer research that becomes available to the field, it is considered as a relatively new field of engineering. The Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) have been investigating how quantum physics and computing go hand in hand for quite some time, and it seems they've made a breakthrough. 

With the assistance of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, MIT has announced that the first five quantum bits of their quantum computer have been tested and proven to be working. The quantum bits solved mathematical equations, giving hope that soon we might see a more secure alternative in encryption of information like credit cards and cloud services. This is explained by MIT's Jennifer Chu: "It’s thought that a single quantum computer may easily crack this problem [encryption of information], by using hundreds of atoms, essentially in parallel, to quickly factor huge numbers."

The researchers claim this is the "first scalable implementation" of a quantum computing algorithm first theorized in 1994 by the Morss Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT, Peter Shor. The team at MIT say that they've discovered a method of using laser pulses to factor the number 15, which would in the future factor numbers of a much higher value. 

Isaac Chaung, a professor of physics and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, says, "We show that Shor’s algorithm, the most complex quantum algorithm known to date, is realizable in a way where, yes, all you have to do is go in the lab, apply more technology, and you should be able to make a bigger quantum computer."

Chuang admits that the costs of building the computer will be "an enormous amount of money to build" but concedes that it is more an "engineering effort" than a question about physics. So the world might not be seeing the quantum computer soon, however, if banks are able to protect credit card information at a more secure level, they might be the first in line. 

According to Computing, the quantum engineering field will be receiving government funding to the tune of £200m to further produce engineers across 40 universities that could assist in the building of quantum computers. 

For more information about the mechanics of the computer and the scalability of it for the future: CLICK HERE

 


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