The Oxford Martin Programme on Bio-Inspired Quantum Technologies is investigating the possibility of making quantum computers real.
We aim to develop a completely new methodology for overcoming the extreme fragility of quantum memory. By learning how biological molecules shield fragile quantum states from the environment, we hope to create the building blocks of future quantum computers.
The unique power of quantum computers comes from their ability to carry out all possible calculations in parallel.
Such a computer would process information faster than classical computers, but more importantly, it would be capable of modelling systems, such as climate models or physiological function, which are too challenging for today’s supercomputers, and would also be energy-efficient. Some of the quantum machine designs we are studying would use light to transmit and store information, instead of traditional electrical currents.
Most current approaches build quantum memory by adding quantum bits, one by one, from the bottom up. Our radical new approach offers a top-down perspective from biology, whereby we learn from nature how large complex systems such as biomolecules achieve quantum coherence before we replicate their properties in sub-units.
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