When Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in chess in 1996, the world took notice. Far be it for us to tell you not to be impressed by computers that outperform humans. But what about a computer that could not only beat a human at chess, but rather solve the game of chess entirely. What does solving chess entirely even mean? Or matter?
According to the mathematician Claude Shannon, the number of potential variations in a single chess match is 10120, which is slightly higher than the number of atoms that exist in the observable universe. In short, a pretty big number.
Today, even a relatively unsophisticated computer can beat the best chess player in the world every day of the week, but to solve the game of chess, you would need to account for 10120 possible outcomes in order to develop what those in quantum mechanics call an “optimal strategy for chess.” Chess is still not a solved game still, but quantum computing could make it happen.
Quantum computing takes an idea that has been bouncing around in the intellectual ether for decades: what if instead of binary computing, you could exponentially generate and regenerate 0s and 1s simultaneously. The field of quantum mechanics has discovered that, at the greatest subatomic level, particles can exist in the same place at the same time.
The hope is that quantum processors, which utilize these small particles in units called qubits, harnessing the power of “quantum superimposition” (the theoretically infinite generation of 0s and 1s), will be able to solve extremely complex equations that puzzle even our most sophisticated computers.
Before we solve develop an “optimal strategy” for chess or use quantum computing to forecast weather and financial markets with 100% accuracy, those constructing these computers require a vacuum. The particles that make up qubits are fickle little guys, and they need an ultra-cold environment. The molecules must to be at low temps because otherwise they produce energy, which distorts the calculations of the particles in the quantum processor.
At MPF, we have vested interest in quantum computing. Our vacuum viewports are uniquely designed for cryogenic environments. Our extensive inventory of state-of-the-art, vacuum-brazed Sapphire and Fused Silica or titanium viewports are leak tested to 1×10-9 cc/se and cryogenically tested at -196°C (the temperature of liquid nitrogen).
So, before you decide to build a quantum computer for your university—or if you’re a company building one of these super-supercomputers—we would enjoy your business (ahem, firstname.lastname@example.org or 864.876.9853)—but mostly we are committed to collaborating with you to make quantum computing a reality.