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Aramco launches Saudi’s first quantum computer

The 200-qubit machine is expected to be operational in the second half of 2025.

Aramco launches Saudi’s first quantum computer
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

In a significant step towards diversifying its economy and embracing cutting-edge technology, Saudi Arabia has announced the installation of its first quantum computer.

Built through a partnership between Saudi Aramco, the national oil giant, and French tech firm Pasqal, the 200-qubit machine is expected to be operational in the second half of 2025.

This deployment marks a bold move for Saudi Arabia, aiming to unlock the potential of quantum computing for the energy sector. Unlike traditional computers, which rely on bits, quantum computers utilize qubits, allowing them to tackle complex problems beyond the reach of even supercomputers.

“This isn’t just any quantum computer,” said Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO of Pasqal. “It will be the most powerful tool deployed for industrial usages, unlocking a new era of innovation.”

The agreement builds upon a 2022 memorandum of understanding between Aramco and Pasqal to explore quantum computing applications in the energy industry. Key objectives include solving complex calculations and identifying new use cases for this nascent technology.

Quantum computers leverage the principles of quantum mechanics to solve problems beyond the reach of traditional computers, even supercomputers.

Qubits, the basic unit of quantum information, offer far greater versatility than the binary bits used in classical computers. This allows quantum computers to tackle problems exponentially faster.

While the current generation of quantum computers boasts around 100 qubits, machines with millions of qubits are envisioned for tackling the most challenging problems. This Saudi Arabian venture positions the Kingdom at the forefront of technological advancement.

“In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, we believe it is crucial to seize opportunities presented by new, impactful technologies,” stated Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s Executive Vice President of Technology and Innovation. “We aim to pioneer the use of quantum computing in the energy sector.”

The Saudi Arabian quantum computer will initially operate in “analog mode” before being upgraded to a more powerful “analog-digital mode” within a year. This upgrade will enable the system to tackle even more intricate challenges.

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