Iran finally admits its 'quantum processor' was in fact not quantum at all

Unveiling the so-called quantum Iranian processor
(Image credit: Tansim News - CC)

Iran's recently announced, and very quickly debunked, "quantum processor" now comes with an official withdrawal statement from Imam Khomeini Uni's Research vice chancellor.

"The unveiling of the FPGA board in the said conference has conveyed this false mentality to the country's media space that the said board is a quantum processor, which was not the case," says the research vice chancellor (machine translated via Tansim News).

A little while back, Iran's Imam Khomeini University of Marine Sciences and Technologies (RA) unveiled what it called the "first product of the quantum processing algorithm." Of course the entire tech and science community jumped straight down their throat to explain that, actually, it was a $600 dev board you could buy on Amazon.

The board had turned out to be a ZedBoard Zynq-7000 development SoC, and it's true spec is nowhere near enough to power a quantum processor. Imagine flipping qubits with just 256GB of storage, 512MB of DDR3 RAM, and only a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor.

With the crushing weight of the media now upon them, the country has had to do a full U-turn on the announcement, though it makes it clear that "the principle of the problem of the proposed algorithm, dealing with the disturbance of surface vessels' positioning systems, is important and approved for the promotion of maritime security."

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So while the board being shown didn't turn out to be what Iran said it was at all, it was still big news for the country's navy. I guess that kind of makes up for the disinformation?

What gets me is that surely someone at the university had an inkling as to what a quantum processor was meant to look like. Even as Iran's Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Coordinating Deputy of the Islamic Republic’s Army (and former Commander of the Navy), looked on with glee as he proudly held the so-called quantum processor in his hands, someone, somewhere was giggling to themselves in a lab cupboard.

Honestly, hats off to the Iranian Uni student who managed to play this little prank on their entire country.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been rambling about games, tech and science—rather sarcastically—for four years since. She can be found admiring technological advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. Right now she's waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.