Abu Dhabi researchers start building UAE's first quantum computer

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Work is underway to build a quantum computer in Abu Dhabi, marking another important technological milestone for the region.

The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the dedicated ‘applied research’ pillar of Abu Dhabi’s newly established Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), has announced that its Quantum Research Centre (QRC) team led by its Chief Researcher, Professor José Ignacio Latorre, will construct it.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with Barcelona-based Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech teams.

A quantum computer uses quantum mechanics phenomena such as "superposition" and "entanglement" to generate and manipulate subatomic particles like electrons or photons, quantum bits known as "qubits" to create exponentially stronger processing powers.

They help to perform complex calculations that would take much longer to solve even by the world’s most powerful classical supercomputers.

Professor Latorre explained that the preparatory work has already begun.

"The first step in the process is to build a laboratory, equip it and complete installation of the cleanroom equipment, all of which is on track. Once done, the first qubits will be prepared, characterised and benchmarked. We expect the first simple quantum chips ‘Made in Abu Dhabi’ should come by the end of the summer," he said.

Latorre noted there are several technologies to construct quantum computers such as superconducting qubits, ion traps, optical qubits, and spin dots, adding QRC has opted to use superconducting qubits, which is the same technology that Google and IBM use in building their own quantum computers, and they offer the best qubit technology to scale to a larger quantum computer.

Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of ATRC, said: "We are at the cusp of a new era with the advent of quantum computing.

"We are proud to embark on building one of these wonderful machines which will help us in various fields, from discovering new medicines to making new materials to designing better batteries to various Artificial Intelligence applications."

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