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Quantum computing: bits to qubits

Hands-on at the exhibit

  • Learn how we can control and manipulate light for to use in everyday modern communications.
  • Join us on a journey into the weird and wonderful world of quantum mechanics. Be a scientist and carry out an experiment to demonstrate the difference between ‘classical’ and ‘quantum’ behaviour.
  • Interact with the latest quantum computer straight from our lab and experience our research first hand!

Find out more

In our modern world, we need more powerful computers to solve highly complex problems. Across a range of subjects, from climate change to drug design, our current conventional computers are failing to solve many of the critical problems that we face today. For these problems, we need a new paradigm of information processing.

By taking advantage of the strange world of quantum mechanics, we can tackle these problems in a new way. Quantum mechanics is a physical theory that describes how single particles behave, such as electrons. The molecules that make up life-saving medicines follow these weird properties, so to fully understand them we need a computer that works in the same way. Enter quantum computing.

Conventional computers store information using bits that can either be 0 or 1. A quantum computer uses quantum bits, or qubits for short, which make use of the mysterious power of quantum mechanics. Even very small quantum computers will soon be able to solve problems far beyond the reach ofthe largest supercomputers today.

At the University of Bristol's Quantum Engineering Technology Labs, we are developing ground-breaking technologies using single particles of light, known as photons. Our devices create, control and measure these photons to process complex information. By using techniques from the semiconductor industry, we have designed and fabricated the first quantum photonic microchips.

These integrated devices, which are smaller than your fingernail, will form part of the next generation of quantum computers -  which are likely to have a huge impact on cyber-security, drug design and even machine learning.

Find out more by visiting Quantum in the Cloud (QITC) to see a quantum computer simulation and take a virtual lab tour. We can also be found on YouTube and Facebook.

Presented by: University of Bristol.