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The first operating system for a quantum computer has been developed by researchers in Cambridge, signalling a significant step towards creating a practical version of the ultra powerful machines.
The t|ket> operating system was developed by Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQCL) using a proprietary custom designed high speed supercomputer to accurately simulate a quantum processor.
What is quantum computing?
Quantum computers replace traditional bits that are used in digital communications with quantum bits, or qubits. Potential applications can be found in a variety of fields, from medicine to space travel.
Qubits exist in a state of superposition, meaning they can be in both states at once, rather than restricted to either binary state as traditional bits function.
The Cambridge firm believes that the software will aid the commercialisation of the emerging technology by facilitating users in controlling what operations a quantum computer can perform.
"CQCL is at the forefront of developing an operating system that will allow users to harness the joint power of classical super computers alongside quantum computers," read a statement from the company.
"The development of t|ket> is a major milestone. Quantum computing will be a reality much earlier than originally anticipated. It will have profound and far-reaching effects on a vast number of aspects of our daily lives."
Quantum computers have been widely touted as holding revolutionary potential in a variety of fields due to their immense processing power.
Governments, companies and organisations are currently developing the technology in the belief that it could be the future of computing, capable of sating the world's ever-growing technological needs.
The CIA, Google and NASA have all set up labs to explore the nascent technology, while earlier this year the UK government outlined a £270m strategy into quantum technology growth through the UK National Quantum Technology Programme.