Quantum Computing to Save the World('s Energy)!
While quantum computing is exciting because it deals with massive amounts of data and it achieves previously unattainable levels of computing efficiency, this is just one reason why quantum computing is key to the future. Quantum computing is also a key tool to combat the exponentially growing use of energy in classical computers. While our data centers—(super)computers, smartphones, and televisions—might seem clean, they have a surprisingly large energy footprint, representing approximately 10% of the world’s electricity. Yet, our world continues to create and launch a myriad of classical (super)computers, and they are getting even larger and more energy dense than ever before.
So, why should we shift our focus to quantum computers? We should shift our focus to adopting quantum computers because they use significantly less energy. By using less energy, we are virtually decreasing the world’s fossil-fuel dependency, and this is crucial because our significant dependence on it has led to unfavorable environmental changes.
Here’s how they use less energy: A quantum processor has to be shielded from its surroundings and must operate at extremely low temperatures. This can be done in a cryogenic refrigerator, which can reach about -150 to -270 ℃ (-238 to -460 ℉). When the quantum processor operates in these very low temperatures, it is superconducting, meaning it is conducting an electric current with practically no resistance. Therefore, a quantum processor uses nearly no power nor does it generate heat. The only power that is needed is used for the refrigerating system, so a quantum computer only needs a fraction of the power that a classical supercomputer does.
Because quantum processors leverage quantum computational resources and use superconducting electronics, they demonstrate a significant improvement over classical supercomputers in terms of computing power per watt. To put into perspective, the Tianhe-2, a classical supercomputer located at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou, China, takes 17.6 megawatts (MW) of power (24 MW with cooling), whereas a quantum computer only takes 20-25 (about 1/10 of 1% of supercomputer power) kilowatts of power for the refrigerating system. Currently, Google has unveiled the largest quantum processor to date at 72-qubits, and experts believe that a quantum computer with 70-100 qubits will ultimately reach quantum supremacy. Thus, existing quantum computers are pretty close to surpassing the capabilities of the world’s fastest supercomputers, while using 99.9% less power!
Quantum computing is showing some promising signs for the future, but there is more that has to be done before we see fully practical deployment. That is why Quantum Thought’s mission is to create, incubate, launch and guide quantum companies to achieve widespread adoption of it in a variety of industries and enter the Quantum Era. And as we reach the Quantum Era and increase its adoption, we are ultimately helping the Earth’s ability to support our world’s computing power usage!