IBM Reaches a Computing Milestone

Volkswagen to work with Google on quantum computing projects

Volkswagen to work with Google on quantum computing projects

In the first move, IBM says the first IBM Q systems available online to clients will have a 20 qubit processor; a result of improvements in superconducting qubit design, connectivity and packaging. IBM has made significant strides tackling problems on small scale universal quantum computing systems. But, as TechCrunch understates it, quantum computing is "a hard area of technology to understand", so you might just have to trust Gil on this one. Only a year and a half ago, IBM was working with 5-qubit computers.

IBM revealed that, thanks to advances in quantum hardware, it successfully developed an operational prototype 50-qubit processor. Companies like Google and Intel are now developing quantum computers, and industry stalwart IBM just announced today that it has produced a machine that is able to process 50 quantum bits (qubits).

"We are really proud of this; it's a big frickin' deal", IBM's director for AI and quantum computing Dario Gil, who made Friday's announcement, told the MIT Technology Review.

IBM said the 50-qubit processor will be implemented in Q Systems sometime next year via a series of planned upgrades, leading to even greater performance. IBM managed to maintain the quantum state for both systems for a total of 90 microseconds. For example, within six months, the IBM team was able to extend the coherence times for the 20 qubit processor to be twice that of the publicly available 5 and 16 qubit systems on the IBM Q experience.

While the earliest versions of IBM's quantum computers were offered for free to build a community of users, and help educate people on programming and using these machines, today's announcement is the first commercial offering. IBM Q, which was announced in March, is a followup to that effort. QISKit has been expanded so users can create and execute quantum computing programs on Q Systems.

To augment this ecosystem of quantum researchers and application development, IBM rolled out earlier this year its QISKit (www.qiskit.org) project, an open-source software developer kit to program and run quantum computers.

Quantum computing systems are powerful enough to enable new applications that a conventional PC can't handle.

GOOGLE HAS teamed up with entirely honest German auto maker Volkswagen to explore ways in which Google's quantum computing technology can be applied in the automotive sector. IBM pointed out that quantum computing will have the ability to solve complex problems including chemical simulations and types of optimization.

IBM, Google, Intel, and a San Francisco startup called Rigetti are all now racing to build useful quantum systems.

These quantum advances are being presented today at the IEEE Industry Summit on the Future Of Computing as part of IEEE Rebooting Computing Week.

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