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New world. “IT can help solve environmental problems”

The government is expected to announce a plan for quantum computing in the coming days. (GETTY IMAGES)

The government is expected to announce a plan for quantum computing in the coming days. The specialist Olivier Ezratty deciphers this technology and explains the expected benefits to us.

Franceinfo: What is quantum computing?

Olivier Ezratty, consultant in new technologies (Author of Understanding Quantum Computing): Quantum computing is a new computational technique that relies on physical properties of matter at the nanoscopic scale. Today there are small quantum computers, a few qbits (basic processing unit for quantum computers). But there are not yet large systems for working on a very large scale.

What is the “quantum supremacy” that Google claims to have achieved?

It’s an important symbolic threshold. Google’s quantum computer has managed to make calculations that would take 10,000 years on the classic benchmark computer, the IBM Summit which contains around 35,000, in just three minutes. But IBM disputes this title to Google, claiming that his computer could, in reality, perform this famous calculation in just 2 ½ days, but at the cost of adding gigantic memory. The interest of quantum is still to be able to divide by a million the energy cost of the calculation.

What will quantum computers be used for in the future?

This will not be used to speed up everyday applications, such as video games. This will advance research, in particular, by simulating the interactions between atoms in molecules. Ultimately, this should be used to invent new drugs, new batteries or new solutions to capture CO2 and solve a number of environmental problems on the planet.

It's for when ?

No one is able to answer this question. For some, in less than ten years we will reach an interesting quantum power. Others believe that it will take several decades.

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