SpinQ presents world’s first portable quantum computers
AI and quantum computing are supposed to be the two main technologies that will most influence our evolution in the coming years. While AI seems to be seeing a much more accelerated development thanks to all sorts of open source projects, while quantum computing experimentation requires prohibitively expensive and cumbersome hardware. Developments in the quantum computing field have been relatively slow, but some companies like China-based SpinQ and Japan-based Switch-Science are already looking at solutions that could help democratize access for the masses.
The Gemini Mini, Gemini and Triangulum portable quantum computer models from SpinQ / Switch-Science are much smaller than the current fastest quantum computers, and as such their computing power is proportionally reduced. Compared to IBM’s Osprey QPU which integrates 433 qubits, the portable SpinQ processors only offer a maximum of 3 qubits. Of course, due to the reduced size, the qubit technology is also more rudimentary. Instead of superconducting qubits that require very low temperatures, the portable quantum processor comes with qubits that work on nuclear magnetic resonance. Unfortunately, this type of technology does not unlock the quantum entanglement properties that make QPUs potentially faster than transistor-based processors.
Even though the SpinQ models are considered portable, don’t expect to carry them around like a laptop, as the most compact version weighs 14 kg. Moreover, these models do not actually provide enough processing power to perform complex problem solving scenarios. They are intended as educational devices that introduce users to quantum circuit programming. Prices are also not what we would call mainstream.
SpinQ’s most affordable quantum computer is represented by the Gemini Mini model. It measures 200 x 350 x 260 mm, weighs 14 kg and features a dual-qubit processor that offers more than 20 ms coherence time with more than 10 gate operations per dual-qubit circuit or more than 30 operations per single qubit. It is the only model with an integrated display that makes it easier for users to access 18 demonstration algorithms, complete with documentation and training materials. The entire device requires 60W of power and its price in Japanese yen is converted to US$8,1000.
With the mid-range Gemini model, we can already forget about portability, as the device looks like a rounded computer tower case that measures 600 x 280 x 530 mm and weighs 44 kg. Power requirements are increased to 100 W, but the processor still only has 2 qubits with the same 20+ ms coherence. However, 1 qubit is capable of processing 200 gate operations, while the dual qubit circuit is capable of 20 gate operations. All this for only US41,500.
The flagship Triangulum model is not much more expensive than the Gemini model at ~US$57,400. Despite the larger case measuring 610 x 330 x 560 mm, this model weighs 40 kg. It offers a more advanced 3-qubit processor with 40+ ms coherence times for extended runtimes, yet the processing power is reduced to 40 gate operations per single qubit, or 8 gate operations per dual or triple qubit circuits. For the increased coherence times, this model requires 330 W of power.
Looking at how these models are priced, quantum computing for the masses still seems quite far away. The processing power is also way too limited for now, but at least some efforts are being made at miniaturization and mass production.
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I first stepped into the wonderful world of IT&C when I was about seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computer graphics, whether it was from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I am also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics buff and a crypto geek. I started writing PC related articles for Softpedia and some blogs in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer covering mostly processor, GPU and laptop news.