Quantum computers can now handle more tasks thanks to new encoding method

Quera Computing is developing quantum computers

Quantum computing is one of the most exciting and experimental tech industries. It actually uses subatomic particles, like electrons and photons, and combines it with quantum mechanics. This allows the computer to use "qubits" to be in two states at once. The final result is that quantum computers should be able to handle calculations much faster than traditional computers.

Today, the Boston-based QuEra Computing company, the makers of its own neutral-atom quantum computer called Aquila, revealed a new encoding method breakthrough that it says will allow its computer to handle more applications.

QuEra describes the previous limitations for its quantum computer:

Specifically, the native connectivity of the qubits for a given platform often restricts the class of problems that can be addressed. For instance, Rydberg atom arrays naturally allow solving for maximum independent set (MIS) problems, but native encodings are restricted to so-called unit-disk graphs.

However, thanks to this new encoding method, QuEra says its quantum computer can overcome those restrictions:

Now, new classes of optimization problems can be solved by neutral-atom machines. These include maximum independent sets on graphs with arbitrary connectivity, and quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO) problems with arbitrary or restricted connectivity.

What does this mean? QuEra says that quantum computers like its own Aquila can handle more applications. It offers an example of using it to find new pharmaceutical products at an early stage of development:

Through QuEra’s new encoding method, optimized protein design becomes a possibility. In this way, machines such as Aquila will be able to support researchers to more efficiently identify the best samples to press on with in trials. This reduces the resources required to get new types of drugs through the development process and enhances the probability of approval. Consequently, makers of pharmaceuticals may see increased revenue and reduced cost.

The new encoding method could also be used for better logistics scheduling, according to QuEra. Aquila is currently availed to access on the Amazon Braket cloud.

Of course, if quantum computing does take off, it could also be used by cyber criminals to break current encryption methods. A few months ago, the security company Cloudflare announced plans to experiment with new methods that could protect against attacks against groups using quantum computers.

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