Data & Analytics

First Multinode Quantum Network Paves the Way for the Quantum Internet

Researchers in the Netherlands have established an entanglement-based network between three quantum processors for the first time.

Three nodes that can store and process quantum bits were linked to create the world's first rudimentary quantum network.
Credit: Marieke de Lorijn/QuTech.

Researchers in the Netherlands have successfully connected three separate quantum processors in what is effectively the world's first multinode quantum network. This paves the way for a large-scale quantum Internet that governments and scientists have been dreaming up for decades.

QuTech, a quantum research institute based in Delft, has published new work in which three nodes that can store and process quantum bits (also called qubits) were linked. This, according to the QuTech researchers, is the world's first rudimentary quantum network.

Connecting quantum devices is by no means a novelty; many researchers around the world are currently working on similar networks but so far have only succeeded in linking two quantum processors. Establishing a multinode connection, therefore, is a key step toward significantly expanding the size of the network.

Driving much of the research effort is the objective of creating a quantum Internet that could one day stretch across the surface of the planet. The quantum Internet would exploit the strange laws of quantum mechanics to let quantum devices communicate with each other, and is expected to unlock a range of applications that cannot be run with existing classical means.

For example, the quantum Internet could link together small quantum devices to create a large quantum cluster with more compute power than the most sophisticated classical supercomputers.

"A quantum internet will open up a range of novel applications, from unhackable communication and cloud computing with complete user privacy to high-precision timekeeping," said Matteo Pompili, a member of QuTech's research team. "And, like with the Internet 40 years ago, there are probably many applications we cannot foresee right now."

Read the full story here.