Quantum Computers Ready to Leap Out of the Lab in 2017

Google, Microsoft and a host of labs and start-ups are racing to turn scientific curiosities into working machines

DATE: 04/01/2017
RETRIEVED: 04/01/2017

Quantum computing has long seemed like one of those technologies that are 20 years away, and always will be. But 2017 could be the year that the field sheds its research-only image.

Google started working on a form of quantum computing that harnesses superconductivity in 2014. It hopes this year, or shortly after, to perform a computation that is beyond even the most powerful ‘classical’ supercomputers—an elusive milestone known as quantum supremacy. Its rival, Microsoft, is betting on an intriguing but unproven concept, topological quantum computing, and hopes to perform a first demonstration of the technology.

Quantum Circuits is focused on making fully error-corrected machines from the start. This requires building in more qubits, but the machines could also run more-sophisticated quantum algorithms.

IonQ aims to build machines that have 32 or even 64 qubits, and the ion-trap technology will enable their designs to be more flexible and scalable than superconducting circuits, he says.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is betting on the technology that has the most to prove. Topological quantum computing depends on excitations of matter that encode infor­mation by tangling around each other like braids.



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