IBM expects to commercialize quantum computers within five years

IBM expects to commercialize quantum computers within five years

IBM expects to commercialize quantum computers within three to five years, when they outperform supercomputers in specific domains. Big Blue first wants to prove that quantum computers can perform certain tasks faster than supercomputers.

Achieving quantum supremacy is an important milestone for quantum computers. This is the moment when these powerhouses beat the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Switching to a completely different computer platform might not be justified otherwise.

Quantum supremacy

According to Toms Hardware, IBM claims, in view of Moore’s Law, that its quantum computers double in performance on average every year. In addition to IBM, Google and other manufacturers have previously stated that in order to achieve quantum supremacy, a quantum computer requires at least 50 qubits.

According to Norishige Morimoto, director of IBM Research in Tokyo, IBM plans to launch a 58-qubit quantum computer of the next generation. This would surpass supercomputers and would therefore be suitable for commercialisation.

IBM Q System One

IBM’s latest system, the IBM Q System One, features a 20 qubit quantum processor with a volume of 16. IBM is convinced that the so-called quantum volume, a quantum computing performance metric, is more accurate than just using qubits. Quantum volume uses a combination of the number of qubits and error rates to determine the real-world performance of a quantum processor.

-273 degrees Celsius

However, not everyone will be able to purchase a quantum computer as soon as it becomes available. This type of computer requires a working environment of -273 degrees Celsius in order to protect the qubits from interference. IBM sees quantum computers as a complement to classic supercomputers. In addition, they will initially only be suitable for limited AI applications, as they will not be able to handle wider AI applications for now.

Although the computer giant is currently considered to be one of the leaders in quantum processing, other manufacturers are also working on a quantum computer. Parties such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Fujitsu, Alibaba, IonQ, Rigetti and D-Wave are each other’s competitors in this field and are trying to beat each other in order to achieve quantum supremacy first.

Related: Atos launches free quantum programming tools myQLM

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.