New supercomputer in operation

A new type of powerful quantum computer for European research has gone into operation at Forschungszentrum Jülich. 

Neuer Supercomputer in Betrieb

Jülich (dpa) - A new type of powerful quantum computer for research purposes went into operation at Forschungszentrum Jülich on Monday. The system, which was developed in Canada, will form part of the existing infrastructure for quantum computing at Jülich. This will give scientists from all over Europe access to a wide range of computers of different levels of technological maturity.

Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) spoke of a quantum leap. "Quantum technologies can facilitate a major leap forward," said the minister. She mentioned such areas of application as climate research modelling, tap-proof communication, real-time traffic flow planning, the development of new medical drugs and the analysis of complex processes on financial markets.

Since these computers need a vibration-free location, a new building with two machine rooms was specially constructed in Jülich. The rooms have special foundations that absorb vibrations. The processors also have to be extremely well cooled. "JUNIQ" stands for Jülich UNified Infrastructure for Quantum computing. The research centre is located to the west of Cologne near the Hambach open-cast lignite mine.

The research centre spoke of pioneering work in the development of tomorrow's information technologies. Quantum computers are considered to be much more powerful than conventional mainframe computers. Traditional computers work with bits. A bit can only assume two states: "one" and "zero", i.e. "on" and "off". Quantum computers, on the other hand, work with qubits ("quantum bits"). As well as "one" and "zero", a qubit can theoretically represent an infinite number of states in between, and can do so simultaneously.

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