Making computing energy efficient is a big challenge. A growing fraction of the energy we generate by burning fossil fuels goes into storing vast amounts of information in the cloud. Data centres are filled with servers that need power to run and need to be cooled so they don’t overheat.
Superconductivity is a property of certain materials at low temperatures, which allows electrical currents to pass through without losing energy. Superconducting computers have the potential to improve the energy efficiency of the cloud. If we make computers using superconductors we have to cool them to very low temperatures, but for data centres this could be more efficient, even taking into account the energy needed for refrigeration.
Another benefit to superconducting computers is their ability to interface with other low temperature technology, including quantum computers. Superconducting logic and memory could be linked to quantum computers at liquid helium temperatures, improving the connection between quantum calculations and us at room temperature. Read more