China no longer wants to be satisfied with TaihuLight , the supercomputer developed by its engineers in 2016. Chinese scientists have managed to go further by building the world's first quantum computer. The research team was led by Pan Jianwei, a prominent quantum physicist and member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The news was announced on May 2, 2017 during a press conference in Shanghai.
Chinese scientists have succeeded in developing a powerful quantum system capable of crushing the processing capabilities of today's supercomputers. This new computational system works on the instantaneous sampling and entanglement of several photons, five to be exact. All the components were made by the researchers themselves.
Through this technological breakthrough, China aims to strengthen its HPC capacities in order to be completely self-sufficient.
A twenty-four thousand times faster computer
The performance of this new Chinese quantum computer greatly surpasses that of models previously created by IBM and D-Wave. The supercomputer is in fact with an architecture up to twenty-four thousand times faster. It is the entanglement of photons that boosts the speed and scale of computer processing.
Unlike current servers which use bits stored as 0's and 1's, quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits. The difference is that qubits can take multiple states simultaneously.
If we illustrate the facts, quantum computing is like being able to read several thousand books simultaneously. Classical computing, on the other hand, would only allow you to read one book at a time.
A situation that worries the USA
After its supercomputer, the TaihuLight, as well as its neuromorphic chip called Darwin, China continues to strengthen its HPC arsenal. By developing the most powerful quantum computer in the world, the country is clearly seeking to be self-sufficient in technology. As proof, the TaihuLight chips are made locally. The government also aims to equip PCs and smartphones manufactured locally with its own semiconductors.
Such great ambitions are of great concern to certain countries, including the United States. If China were to perfect its quantum system, it could indeed develop new weapons more easily. For the moment, the new Chinese supercomputer is not yet fully developed, because its actions are still limited.