The start of a new revolution: the development and use of quantum computers
The “Quantum Computing Development” project, funded by IFAB, to contribute to the development of potential applications of quantum computing
The world we live in is distinctive for the enormous mass of interconnected data that surrounds us: this is the biggest effect of the digital revolution, which some time ago introduced us to actions like the coding, production and use of innumerable quantities of data. A question of quantity, therefore, and one that is closely associated with the tools for processing and accessing said data: in such a context of hyperinformation, the processing role performed by calculators is fundamental, to put it mildly. The “Quantum Computing Development” project is designed to contribute to the development, testing and streamlining of new quantum computing technologies, the new calculation paradigm which in all probability will complement and subsequently replace the classic high-performance computing in the next 20 years.
What is a quantum computer? It is an instrument that exceeds the calculation power of classic computers thanks to the introduction of principles of quantum mechanics. Compared with a classic computer, which works on the basis of binary and consequential logic, the quantum computer processes information in parallel and simultaneously (quantum parallelism): this is a key aspect because it enables the machine to manage a much larger amount of information, to drastically reduce processing times and finally to improve the performance and the efficiency of calculation output.
Quantum algorithms are particularly effective in addressing optimisation problems, but also in cryptography and the training of neural networks. We can already identify the biggest application opportunities for quantum computers today. A few examples: in economics, in the optimisation of investment portfolios; in the mobility sector, to manage traffic flow and optimise logistics resources; in the chemical/pharmaceutical field, to test molecules and experiment with drugs; in improving the efficiency of the machine learning algorithms that underlie digital platforms like Google and social media.
The world which we are helping to create needs – and will continue to need, with increasing urgency – extremely powerful computers that are able to quickly and efficiently manage large amounts of increasingly complex and interconnected information: quantum computing is the solution and “Quantum Computing Development” is a project which, in Italy and Emilia-Romagna, focuses on carrying out experiments with the aim of developing and implementing practical applications of this extremely important new tool.