IBM develops prototype 50 qubit processor

IBM develops prototype 50 qubit processor

Dario Gil, who leads IBM's quantum computing and artificial intelligence research division, says the company's scientists have successfully built and measured a processor prototype with 50 quantum bits, known as qubits.

In the case of the 50-qubit system, the quantum state was only maintained for 90 microseconds.

IBM said Friday that it has created a prototype 50-qubit quantum computer.

Clients will have online access to the computing power of the first IBM Q systems by the end of 2017, with a series of planned upgrades during 2018.

Quantum computing is believed to hold incredible potential, thanks to an architecture that's fundamentally different from that of today's personal computers, smartphones and other computing devices. Companies like Google and Intel are currently 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). Within 18 months, IBM has brought online a 5 and 16 qubit system for public access through the IBM Q experience and developed the world's most advanced public quantum computing ecosystem.

It's not all about qubit count, however, as researchers continue to work to improve the overall quality of qubits, error rates of operations and circuit connectivity. Quantum computers will likely never be available for personal use, but users could access them-as they can with IBM's 20-qubit version-via the cloud.

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A number of companies, including IBM, Google, Microsoft, Canada's D-Wave Systems Inc. and California-based startup Rigetti Computing, are pushing to create machines that businesses can use. Users have registered from over 1500 universities, 300 high schools, and 300 private institutions worldwide, many of whom are accessing the IBM Q experience as part of their formal education.

IBM said it will show off its new quantum processors at the IEEE Industry Summit on the Future Of Computing today. It was a striking change of tone from the day before, when Trump set aside his blistering rhetoric in favor of friendly overtures to China.

There are three areas of research.

When it went on sale in North America in the early '80s, Volkswagen's hugely successful Passat model was rebranded as the 'VW Quantum'.

The firm pointed to traffic guidance systems, empty parking spaces and available EV chargers, which could slash travel times. "The holy grail is fault-tolerant universal quantum computing".

Quantum computing promises to be able to solve certain problems - such as chemical simulations and types of optimization - that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines. That extreme performance, comes at a cost. A Jupyter notebook that can be used to repeat the experiments that led to this quantum chemistry breakthrough is available in the QISKit tutorials.