(TheNationalNews) Physicists in Abu Dhabi unboxed the Middle East’s first quantum computer this week.
In doing so, the UAE joined some of the world’s most powerful nations and biggest technology companies in a global race to achieve “quantum supremacy”, the point at which a quantum computer can solve problems that no ordinary computer could, at mind-numbing speeds.
The assembly of this supercomputer, at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), represents the beginning of a journey that is vital for the UAE not only to safeguard its strategic interests, but also to help solve the most urgent problems confronting humankind.
Work under way at the Quantum Research Centre laboratory – one of the seven labs housed under TII – is expected to result in breakthroughs in drug discovery and battery technology.
Professor Jose Ignacio Latorre, the chief of research at the Quantum Research Centre, points out, some countries will have to develop their own technological strategies in order to preserve their sovereignty. “There will be a dramatic difference between the countries that own the technology and the ones that depend on it,” Prof Latorre said. “The Emirates, like Singapore or Israel, [and countries] of comparable sizes, cannot depend fully on allies.”
A plan is in place to educate future specialists as well, the purpose of which is to engage the country as a whole. Prof Latorre said: “We need companies, oil and gas, and telecommunications, so when a new technology comes, you [are] ready for that … these efforts should merge with efforts at universities and should also engage industry.”