IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has said the company will have thousands of quantum computers (opens in new tab) up for sale within the next three years.
Speaking to Reuters ahead of its Think conference, Krishna said that the devices that should go up for sale in 2025 will have more than 4,000 qubits of computing power. To put things in perspective, today’s machines have some 127 qubits.
Further explaining what such a device would be capable of doing, Krishna said it would be able to optimize routing truck fleets, or improve financial risk modeling. To tackle these challenges with traditional computer hardware, he says, would require a machine “the size of this planet”.
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Krishna also touched on the topic of over-hyping the company’s Watson AI which, as it turns out, delivered results in healthcare and other industries, a bit slower than what was expected.
Building quantum computers is a more difficult task that developing Artificial Intelligence (AI), he added. "We might have hyped some things," Krishna said. "This time, we try to tread the line carefully."
In late January 2022, IBM published a research paper, arguing just how difficult it was to build quantum computing devices. The paper proposes a method for increasing the applications available for quantum power.
"Quantum computers are promising for simulations of chemical and physical systems, but the limited capabilities of today’s quantum processors permit only small, and often approximate, simulations," IBM said in the paper.
The solution, the company says, is to combine classical and quantum computing power, a process called "entanglement forging". If successful, the system can double the size of the available quantum computations.
Quantum is a nascent technology, albeit one with great potential. In layman’s terms, quantum computing moves beyond binary processing (where everything is either a one or zero) and can allow for states in between those two poles, making the eventual computer more powerful in the process.