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US has kittens as China breeds quantum cats

by on01 February 2023

Chinese quantum computer is either dead or alive

The US government's attempts to keep its technology companies at the forefront of the world using sanctions have apparently failed again after a Chinese start-up has developed a quantum computer and delivered it to an unnamed customer.

The 24-qubit “Wuyuan” system uses superconducting chip technology, according to a report by the state science ministry’s newspaper Science and Technology Daily.

The system was developed by start-up Origin Quantum, founded in 2017 by Guo Guoping and Guo Guangcan, leading quantum physicists at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, in China’s eastern Anhui province.

The report said the start-up had developed several computers since delivering Wuyuan in 2021 and it seems that this one arrived a year ago and is only just being announced.

Origin Quantum co-founder Guo Guoping told Shanghai-based news website The Paper that Origin Quantum created a custom operating system, software and a cloud computing platform, in addition to a range of superconducting quantum chips.

He said a more powerful quantum computer named Wukong would be available “soon” if the cats can agree to co-operate.

Guo told the site quantum computing would deliver benefits in daily life within three to five years.

“Quantum computers can act as accelerators. For example, a problem might take 10 traditional supercomputers a month to calculate. If a quantum computer is added to the computing group, the calculation time may be reduced to three to seven days,” he told the site.

The news is the first official confirmation that quantum computing technology has been used in a completed system in China making it the third country after the US and Canada capable of delivering a complete quantum computer system.

The development is likely to be viewed with unease in the US, which has been working flat out to keep China from developing advanced technologies such as 5G, high-end semiconductors and quantum computers by limiting Chinese firms’ access to advanced microprocessors and chip manufacturing equipment. The Chinese have avoided the US sanctions either by aquiring chips through difficult to trace supply channels or just inventing it themselves.


Last modified on 01 February 2023
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