# MoD acquires UK government's first quantum computer

#### The Ministry of Defence is working with British company Orca Computing to use a quantum computer that can operate at room temperatures.

The MoD will work with Orca to explore applications for quantum computing in the defence space.

Quantum computers are capable of solving complex calculations much faster than traditional silicon-based devices.

Home and business computers today work using a binary system, processing data in bits that can be represented as either zero or one.

Quantum computers work with qubits, though, which can simultaneously represent both zero *and* one. This means they can work faster and cope with more uncertainty than those operating on binary systems.

Quantum computers can work so much faster, in fact, that they can solve problems in seconds that would take traditional computers years or centuries.

However, quantum computing is not at the commercial level just yet. These machines are still under development and their potential is not fully realised.

Professor Winfried Hensinger, head of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies at University of Sussex, told the BBC, "They can't actually solve any practical problems yet. They're enabling you to maybe gauge the possibilities of what working on a quantum computer would have if you can scale this machine to really large system sizes."

But, he added, quantum computers can be disruptive in nearly every industry sector.

"You can imagine that within defence, there's a lot of problems where optimisation can play a huge and very important role."

The MoD will work with Orca's small PT-1 quantum computer, which is distinct from its peers in that it doesn't have to operate at sub-zero temperatures.

Stephen Till, of the MoD's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), called the work a "milestone moment".

"We expect the Orca system to provide significantly improved latency - the speed at which we can read and write to the quantum computer," he added.