This article was translated by John R. Bopp

The magazine MIT Technology Review, which, as its name indicates, is a journal for this university in Cambridge has published an article talking about the breakthroughs Google is making in its project to build a quantum computer, and which is also discussed in Nature magazine.  A research group, Quantum Technologies for Information Science (QUTIS), from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and Ikerbasque, the Basque Foundation for Science have participated in this project and in this breakthrough.

The QUTIS Research Group from the UPV
The QUTIS Research Group from the UPV

No one will doubt that the explanations for what’s happening under the hood of a quantum computer are outside the understanding of us mere mortals; just as what happened when the modern computer, the television, or even just the lightswitch came out.  But all these elements have changed people’s lives and allowed for extraordinary social and economic changes.  

We humbly accept this as true, because we know that in order to understand quantum computing, we’d need a very charitable soul to give an explanation designed for the …for Dummies series–we’re really lost.

But just because we can’t navigate quantum computing doesn’t mean we can’t understand that this technology, when it comes to market, is going to be a huge leap in humankind’s capacity to process information.  In these last few years, we’ve seen how information systems follow a progression whose progress can be summed up by Moore’s Law, which, despite being empirical and having been defined in 1965, has somehow still managed to describe the increase in processing power of our computers.

Quantum computing, when it becomes a reality, will radically break that trend, to the point that a calculation that would require millions of processing years with today’s technology would only take a few minutes.  This was explained by the University of La Plata in a Spanish-language article on this topic on their website, “Discovering Physics”.

We Basques make up a small country with limited resources.  That’s why we need to devote every possible resource (alongside some impossible resources) to two things.  First, we need to guarantee our primary “raw material,” people with the best possible education.  Secondly, we must create research and technological centers that allow us to be at the vanguard of strategic research fields.  It’s obvious that we can’t bet on all areas, but we can be good, or even the best, in some areas which we believe are going to be strategic in the next few years.

innovacion-regional-europa-2014

A while back, we wrote an essay wondering if we Basques were willing to settle for taking second place in innovation.  We don’t believe we can settle, because we must be the lead group, at least in a few key sectors.  That’s why public, and especially private, investment in R&D is key to our future as a country, just like a university invests in research and collaboration with companies to develop these projects.

The QUTIS research group is an example of what we can achieve with well-educated people, a clear goal, and resources.  It is the world leader in theoretical proposals of quantic simulation and quantum computing with superconductors and other quantum technology.  This has allowed their research to be the base for research by leading science and technology labs worldwide.  It’s also a great example of what our researchers, companies, and institutions are doing with limited resources.

Note: we’ve chosen as our lead photo a snapshot of the members of the Quantum Technologies for Information Science (QUTIS) research group at the University of the Basque Country (UPV) and the Basque Foundation for Science, Ikerbasque.  No media are going to dedicate any lines or seconds to these people, nor will anyone stop them on the street to ask them for an autograph, but they are some of those, who with their effort, are building our country’s future.

 

MIT Technology Review – 9/6/2016 – USA

Google Reports Progress on a Shortcut to Quantum Supremacy

A computer that uses the quirks of quantum physics to work on data should be capable of things far beyond any machine in use today. Governments and large tech companies have spent huge sums trying to prove out that idea. Yet quantum computers have sometimes seemed like one of those technologies that are always 20 years away. Recently some leading research groups have come to think they can see a path to shortening that time considerably. Yesterday Google and researchers from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain, published results that could lead to a shortcut to the long-awaited first conclusive demonstration of the power of quantum computing.

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Nature – 8/6/2016  – Gran Bretaña

Google moves closer to a universal quantum computer

For 30 years, researchers have pursued the universal quantum computer, a device that could solve any computational problem, with varying degrees of success. Now, a team in California and Spain has made an experimental prototype of such a device that can solve a wide range of problems in fields such as chemistry and physics, and has the potential to be scaled up to larger systems.

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