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Categories: Dwave google IBM Microsoft QUANTUM COMPUTING

The next era of computing devices could be increasingly driven by quantum computing. Nobody is quite sure exactly when that next era of accessible widely commercialized quantum compputing is scheduled to arrive and fewer still appear to be clear about what quantum computing actually is. What we can say is that quantum machines are in heavy stages development today, but how we will build software to run on them is still in question. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads Quantum computing made simple-ish Put simply (or as simply as possible), traditional computers run on binary systems where a ‘bit’ can only be a value of 0 or 1, thus the scale of any computing engine is built on a binary foundation. Quantum computing goes further because a ‘qubit’ can have a quantum state made up of two or more values simultaneously (called a superposition), so the scale of any computing engine is built upon a quantum foundation with greater power. Logically enough then, big firms like @Microsoft, @IBM, @Google and #quantum specialist @DWave (plus others including @Raytheon, @Airbus and @Lockheed Martin) are now working to try and provide our software programmers with tools to start creating with quantum. The ‘problem’ here is that we are trying to build in a comparatively unknown space where we don’t know how things work, how they behave and quite how fragile things are — spoiler alert, so-called ‘quantum states’ are extremely fragile and quantum errors are complex and tough to measure. Because of these fragilities, complexities and uncertainties, Forbes contributor Fred Campbell has suggested that current quantum software offerings from firms like Microsoft are mere vaporware. It’s an arguably fair and appealing argument i.e. Microsoft doesn’t have a quantum machine yet and the firm is building in relatively unknown space as it attempts to craft relevance to new quantum tools onto its existing stack including Visual Studio and the Azure cloud offering. It’s also true that the fragility of quantum computing is leading firms developing in this space to adopt various different approaches, Microsoft is betting on what we call topological quantum computer designs where qubits are more stable. What if that turns out to be the wrong path to go down? Should we start working to provide developers with tools to code to quantum realities now if the resultant fabric of quantum computing that we end up is markedly different? The answer must surely be that we should ready ourselves (and our programmer developers), but remain more skeptical about eventual realities than any one vendor feels comfortable enough to assert.

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