Home IBM’s Five-Year Mission: Quantum Computing

IBM’s Five-Year Mission: Quantum Computing

Even if your next computer isn’tmade of water, it may still outpace Moore’s law. IBM has rededicated resources and personnel to its quantum computing project in the hope that a five-year push will produce tangible and profound improvements in quantum computing.

Recent advances at UC Santa Barbara and Yale seems to have inspired the company with a sense that such an effort might move quantum-based computing from a largely theoretical construct to actual, usable supercomputing.

As the New York Times pointed out in a recent article, the advances at both universities showed the possibility of using contemporary microelectronics manufacturing techniques to create workable quantum computers.

“Both groups layer a superconducting material, either rhenium or niobium, on a semiconductor surface, which when cooled to near absolute zero exhibits quantum behavior.”

IBM’s quantum group, located at the Watson Research Center has, not surprisingly, hired graduates of both school’s programs to augment the staff.

The power in quantum computing is the ability to calculate more values than a traditional microchip. Instead of a bit, registering a 1/0 or a yes/no, quantum bits, called qubits, can calculate both states simultaneously; further, as more qubits are added, the amount of computing that can be done increases exponentially.

This process burns out the qubits; scientists at these schools, now at IBM, have figured out how to use standard electronic manufacturing to create resonators, that allow for the entanglement of qubits and allowing them much more computational force.

Researchers from UC Santa Barbara believe they can double the computing power in a quantum computer within a year.

And I believe I have sprained my mind.

Computer photo from Wikimedia Commons | other sources: PopSci

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