A startup has raised funds to apply the power of quantum computing to climate-related problems – from climate modelling to batteries
Spotted: The world is poised on the brink of a quantum computing revolution. Unlike traditional computers, which are ultimately based on ‘bits’ that can be either 1 or 0, quantum computers run on ‘qubits’ (quantum bits) that can be 1, 0, or both 1 and 0. This development, which is based on the counter-intuitive laws of quantum physics, means that a quantum computer can perform multiple processes at once, allowing it to solve complex calculations in a fraction of the time it would take even the most advanced conventional supercomputer. In fact, one estimate suggests that a problem that would occupy a supercomputer for 10,000 years, could be rattled off by a quantum computer in just four minutes.
There are many potential positive applications for quantum computing in drug discovery, cybersecurity, and financial forecasting. But one of the most exciting is the application of quantum computing to the climate crisis. For example, the enhanced computing power of quantum computers could be used to build ever more sophisticated climate models and optimise power grids.
Now, the latest startup entering the fray is Finland-based IQM Quantum Computers (IQM). In July, the company announced that it has received €128 million in funding, part of which will be earmarked for co-designing quantum computer processors for climate solutions. The company is already working with a leading car manufacturer on better battery technology, in addition to developing algorithms—tailored for quantum computers—that can be used to tackle climate problems. Advanced material design is yet another climate-friendly application for IQM’s technology.
The bread and butter of IQM’s business is building on-site quantum computers for supercomputing centres, research labs, and industrial businesses. There are two key features of its approach. First, the company co-designs its computers with its customers, tailoring both the hardware and algorithms to the specific applications required. Second, IQM has built proprietary components to go on its computer chips that reduce errors and increase processing speed.
Quantum computing, is a sometimes esoteric but increasingly important topic. Springwise has previously produced a Tech Explained article on the topic, and has spotted several other quantum computing innovations such as quantum algorithms for startups aiming to harness quantum computing power.
Written By: Matthew Hempstead