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Taiwan Reaches Quantum Computer Tech Milestone

Taiwanese researchers have successfully developed 5-quantum-bit (qubit) chips, marking a milestone in the nation’s quest for quantum computer technology, members of Academia Sinica told lawmakers during a Legislative Yuan session on Thursday.

The technology was successfully developed a few months ago and scientists expect to be able to build a quantum computer utilizing the technology before next year, said Lee Chau-hwang (李超煌), executive secretary of the institute’s Central Academic Advisory Committee.

The computer would be put on a cloud system to help the nation’s research institutions and access to the machine would be broadened in the coming years, he said.

Academia Sinica made the breakthrough in collaboration with Taiwan’s tech sector, foreign experts and the Industrial Technology Research Institute, Lee said, adding that 10 percent of the funding came from overseas sources.

Computers with quantum chips would reach a much higher speed of computation than other supercomputers, which makes quantum computer research a closely guarded secret in many nations, Lee said.

This means Taiwan cannot simply transfer quantum computing technology from another country and must develop the technology itself, he said.

Quantum computing would enable the simulation or analysis of more complex phenomena than before, Lee said.

The technology might allow the making of accurate economic forecasts or predicting traffic bottlenecks, he said.

However, applied quantum computing for everyday problems would not be possible in the short term, Lee said.

The national consortium for quantum computing had initially planned to roll out Taiwan’s first quantum computer in 2025, but the work was hastened in response to fierce international competition, said Luo Meng-fan (羅夢凡), head of the National Science and Technology Council’s Department of Natural Sciences and Sustainable Development.

The initial goal was for the research team to achieve 2-qubit chips by the end of the year, he said.

The next challenge is to develop other technologies such as low-temperature electronics, microwave controllers, and the interface and software that goes into a fully operational quantum computer, he said.

Separately, Luo said a generative artificial intelligence (AI) risk assessment team has been established at Academia Sinica following the closure of the controversial CKIP-LLama-2-7b program, which had utilized China-based data for AI training.

Source: Taipei Times