May 18, 2017 07:30 AM EDT
Big tech companies have been in an obsessive race to build the first scalable quantum computer. There have been breakthroughs since the road is full of challenges considering the fact that quantum particles are difficult to 'tame' and unstable. Recently, however, IBM created a pair of powerful chips that would make significant leaps and bounds for quantum computing.
Tech giant IBM, recently announced that it has created two powerful chips that would make quantum devices more scalable. The first is a prototype that uses 17 qubits, which is more than nine in a device built by Google. The second is less powerful - 16 qubits. However, IBM said that the device is powerful enough to hold any different algorithmic tests. In fact, the company is using it to upgrade its online service open to any researcher who will test their algorithms on quantum chips. The 17-qubit chip, on the other hand, will be available by invitation only to a handful of researchers.
What's notable about the new IBM quantum chips is that they lay out its chips side by side which is similar to the orientation used by Google when they introduced their quantum chips earlier this year. This alone is an achievement because it indicates that quantum devices are becoming more scalable and feasible in the future.
IBM also confirmed that it is planning to increase the qubits in its devices, most probably up to 50 qubits or more in the years to come. This seems like a conservative projection considering the fact that Google announced earlier this year that it is planning to build a 49-qubit quantum chip before 2017 ends.
Google and IBM are not the only tech companies that are vying for supremacy in quantum computing. Microsoft, Intel, and other tech startups are making their own research to create the first useful quantum computer.
At this point, no one really knows who will lead the quantum computing race but one thing is certain: quantum computers are just around the corner.
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