This April Fools’ Day article was posted on April 1, 2013.
Last week researchers at the Center for Theoretical Physics Quantum Computing Laboratory provided a small group with an early look at Project Smilde. The project was inspired by the work of artist Berndnaut Smilde, who creates clouds indoors.
As we have often heard, the team’s eureka moment began with a good-natured pun about harvesting the power of the cloud. One of the researchers, who had been investigating the use of water as part of her quantum computing research, had theorized that a major setback she had encountered might be friction related. Following the meeting where she heard the quip, it occurred to her that suspending the water as a vapor might actually solve that problem.
Working with a team, she recreated Smilde’s work in a controlled environment and, once she was able to reliably reproduce these “indoor clouds” with the same properties she was able to create a 2-qubit quantum computer and reproduce the results of a well-known 1998 test. However, her tests were much more promising in that decoherence was maintained for a sustained period, meaning the quantum computer showed promise for commercial applications.
Following the initial experiments the team was able to create 4-qubit and 7-qubit computers with relative ease. The units are still large, about the size of two standard computing racks, so the team is working to reproduce the same results at smaller scale. They are also working on assembling several larger quantum computers into a grid architecture for application in cloud computing, specifically in the context of big data and analytics applications. To learn more about the Quantum Cloud Computing project, visit their site.