IBM is betting big on quantum computing development once again. This time, IBM director of research, Norishige Morimoto, has pledged to deliver commercial quantum computers, capable of outperforming today’s supercomputers in specific tasks, during the next three to five years.
Morimoto, speaking during the IBM think Summit in Taipei (via DigiTimes), believes that truly commercial quantum machines will only become available once that inflection point for quantum computing has been hit. That’s going to be the moment when a quantum computer – powered by entangled qubits that can exist in a superpositional state between 1 and 0 – is able to deliver power unparalleled by classical computers, even compared with the world’s greatest binary supercomputers.
IBM is not alone in this venture, either. Microsoft, Intel, and Google are just some of the more notable tech firms investing heavily in the tech they believe will one day supplant classical computing. Google is similarly confident that its quantum solution will become commercially viable sooner rather than later, with short term success sometime in the next three years.
But that’s easier said than done. Quantum computers often require extreme environments to operate. This is necessary to maintain accuracy in results, which, when in ‘noisy’ conditions, can become inaccurate.
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Quantum computers already require great numbers of error-correcting qubits – the entangled quantum matter at the core of these futuristic machines – to produce results with any semblance of accuracy. Many researchers believe the sheer scale of necessary logical and physical qubits required for quantum supremacy renders its a bleak prospect near-term.
IBM has been a frontrunner in the race towards quantum supremacy, and has remained headstrong throughout quantum computing’s bumpy path to legitimacy.
Earlier this year the company announced IBM Q System One, the first commercially available quantum computer. This rather beautiful machine is one step closer to accessible superpositional smarts, however, it still falls short of a valid alternative to today’s supercomputers – including recent additions from Cray featuring AMD and Intel silicon.
IBM is reportedly set to announce quantum computers with greater numbers of qubits soon according to Morimoto.
Quantum computing remains in its embryonic stages, but with the promise of massive computational power surpassing even the most powerful, and expensive, supercomputers today, there’s plenty of incentive to develop this tech at pace as the world becomes increasingly reliant on big data to operate.