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Posted on : Wednesday 17th June 2020 05:32 PM

20 Years of Quantum Computing Growth

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Rigetti, a quantum computing startup, is supposed to launch a 128-qubit computing system at some point in 2019, a huge improvement in the quantum arena putting the field one step closer to achieving quantum advantage and supremacy.


Quantum advantage is about the moment when a quantum computer can work out hundreds or thousands of times faster than a normal computer, while quantum supremacy is achieved once quantum computers are powerful enough to undertake computations that classical supercomputers cannot perform at all. Developing computing systems with higher qubits is the backbone of how quantum computing will achieve both end goals. The field is moving dramatically. In 1998, researchers at IBM, Oxford, Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT produced a 2-qubit computing system. By 2018 Google confirmed that it was able to build a 72-qubit computing system. Rigetti announced it will be going further than that, releasing a 128-qubit system within the year.


For the layperson, quantum computing still is not a household term. Quantum computing is a fairly new technology, first introduced in 1982. The underlying distinction between the computers and computing systems we interact with daily and quantum computing is the way information is processed on the backend. A traditional computer relies on a binary system, meaning the computer processes information using 0’s and 1’s. A bit is the littlest unit of data in a computer, and all data—the applications that are run, the images that appear—are translated into bits for the computer to understand and process.


A qubit takes the idea of a bit of information, that can only exist in one state or another and can only be processed one bit at one time and complicates it by making it two-dimensional. Qubits can be processed simultaneously and exist in several states at exactly the same time. That idea is referred to as superposition and it implies that qubits can hold a zero, a one, or any combination of both zero and one at the same time, giving them the potential to be tremendously faster and more streamlined than binary systems.

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