Tiny Quantum Computer Simulates Complex Molecules

With the demonstration, an IBM team brings us one step closer to the quantum chemistry revolution

4 min read
An image of the seven-quibit quantum computer that IBM researchers used to simulate complex chemical molecules.
Image: Abhinav Kandala/Nature

Someday, engineers will build large quantum computers that can solve currently impossible science problems, crack unbreakable encryption, and make artificial intelligence smarter. In the meantime, companies building quantum computers are trying to figure out how to use the small ones they expect to build in the coming years.

Decades of theoretical work suggest that quantum computers—perhaps even relatively small ones—will someday be able to solve important problems in chemistry that are intractable on existing computers. But before they can take on big challenges like understanding photosynthesis and improving catalysts for making renewable fuels, researchers have begun simulating small molecules and atoms. And so far, they haven’t gone far beyond what a math-savvy chemist can do with a pen and paper.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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