CIO's Corner

Quantum computing breakthrough. What now?

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Expectations regarding quantum computing are running high. To speed up developments,  IBM is making universal quantum computers available for business, science and other interested parties. Next year the threshold of 50 qubits (quantum bits) will be reached. This level of processing power cannot be simulated on a traditional computer. That means that as of that moment, big breakthroughs can be expected.

In terms of use cases, the focus is on quantum computing in two domains: first of all, material developments, primarily involving chemical and physical components and life cycle-related challenges. Other, somewhat less complex applications primarily lie in the domain of optimization. These applications involve complex matrix calculations, solving complex comparisons, etc.


It makes no sense to use quantum computing for problems that you solve linearly. Quantum computing only really proves its mettle in specific problems, for which the same calculations must be performed simultaneously across a large quantity of data. Two frequently applied algorithms are the Schor algorithm (a quantum algorithm for reducing numbers to their prime factors, generally applied for optimization) and the Grover algorithm (a quantum algorithm that can derive the most probable input based on a specific output). However, new, applicable algorithms that go further than this are also interesting.

Moreover, quantum computing will always be applied in combination with a more traditional computer environment. Generally, the quantum computer handles a specifically defined aspect of task to be performed. Frequently, these workloads for performing a specific analysis or creating a simulation that a normal computer can no longer process within the desired time. The quantum computer is thus one component of a larger infrastructure.

Discover for yourself

The progress we envision lies not only in the power, stability and size of the quantum computers themselves, but also in the method used to deploy these computers and their relationships with other systems. This means that the anticipated breakthrough to 50 qubits next year is only one aspect of their potential. There is a significant chance that in 2018 the phenomenon will accelerate quite rapidly thanks to new applications. You can already explore the possibilities for yourself for free with the online IBM Quantum Experience >


You can find more information about IBM Q research here >

Adoption Leader | Watson & Cloud Platform | IBM

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