France and Australia building a quantum supercomputer

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France and Australia want to build a quantum computer together, it was announced this Wednesday morning. French president Emmanuel Macron and the Australian Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which was described as the “tangible next step” in the building of a silicon quantum computer.

The agreement will see the creation of a joint venture that will develop technology and look for commercialisation opportunities.

Australia's Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC), and France's research and development (R&D) organisation, the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA) will be working on the project.

Quantum computing is described as computing through the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena. Unlike traditional computers, where data needs to be encoded into binary digits, quantum computing allows bits to be in superpositions, which essentially means they could be both 0 and 1 at the same time.

These computers, once they enter the mainstream, will be incomparably faster than even the fastest supercomputers of today.

Speaking to ZDNet, CQC2T director and SQC director and founder professor Michelle Simmons said quantum computing might revolutionise the IT industry.

"We have phenomenal leadership in silicon quantum computing across a range of platforms, and SQC is now moving rapidly to commercialise all these technologies."

A couple of tech companies, including IBM, are already developing quantum computers, but they are still far from being commercially viable.

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