(HorizonMagazine.eu) European scientists have spent 100 years developing the field of quantum mechanics – a branch of physics dealing with the atomic and subatomic scale. Dr. Thomas Monz from the University of Innsbruck, says that now quantum technologies are becoming a reality is the time to reap the profits of all the past work.
Monz is leading a project to develop a fully scalable quantum computer. The project is part of the EU’s €1 billion, 10-year Quantum Flagship initiative to kickstart a competitive European industry in quantum technologies.
Monz explained that a quantum computer can do things that a classical computer can’t do. Because it’s in many states at the same time, in simplified terms, it allows you to probe many possibilities at the same time. If you are working in finance and you want to say which portfolio has the largest profit, you need to take many, many different cases into account and then find the best one.
Another prominent example is energy material design. The power line in your home has friction – ohmic resistance – in the cable. That’s why an electric motor or your hairdryer gets warm. Quite a bit of a power is lost from the power plant before it gets to your house. Can we come up with a new material, which doesn’t have ohmic resistance, so we don’t have (energy) losses in the cable? The inherent properties of how friction in materials work, that’s partially governed by quantum mechanics.

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