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Russia reaches milestone on quantum computing roadmap

By Dan O'Shea posted 30 Dec 2021

Russian scientists have reached the latest milestone on the country’s quantum computing roadmap, having developed a prototype 4-qubit ion quantum computer, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.

The report attributed the information to Rosatom, the Russian state atomic energy corporation, which has been coordinating an effort among researchers that began in 2019 with the aim to develop a quantum computer by 2024. The report said that scientists from the Russian Quantum Center and the P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences unveiled the prototype.

This latest achievement is likely to be scrutinized by the U.S. government, which increasingly has been monitoring closely the emerging quantum computing efforts in countries such as China, Pakistan and Russia. A list of foreign entities perceived to be “acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States” was issued by the U.S. government in November, and though it was mostly focused on Chinese organizations, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Russia also was added to the list.

“The researchers were able to develop a system of 4 qubits, not by scaling up the number of ions, but by applying the original technology of scaling quantum processors using multilevel information carriers – qubits,” the Interfax report stated. A “universal quantum computer with cloud access” is expected by 2024, the report quoted the head of the project as saying.

Rosatom this year has allocated more than 6 billion rubles ($80 million USD) to invest in the development of quantum technologies, with a total of more 23 billion rubles ($310 million USD) likely to be allocated by 2024, the report stated. The company launched Russia’s National Quantum Laboratory in 2020.

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