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Chinese Students Rescue Quantum Computer from Late-Night Disaster


prospective quantum components on a circuit board

The incident has drawn attention to an overwork culture among China's researchers.

Water leaking through the ceiling of a Chinese national research facility might have destroyed a new-generation quantum computer under construction if not for the quick action of students working late.

Around 2 a.m. on Sunday, 26-year-old doctoral student Zhong Hansen was working at the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale when he noticed water spilling into his lab.

The lab was filled with expensive equipment, some of which was unique. More than 180 superconducting detectors cooled by liquid nitrogen alone cost more than 24 million yuan (US$3.7 million). They were part of Jiuzhang 3, a world-leading quantum computer.

After Zhong called for help, other students also still at work joined him in the rescue bid. With the help of security guards they forced the door open and stemmed the leak.

The authorities awarded Zhong and four other students 120,000 yuan (US$19,000) between them.

From South China Morning Post
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