5 Quantum Processors [of 2019] That Features New Computing Paradigm

Tech giants like IBM, Google, Intel, and numerous startups are racing to develop the new machine that utilizes quantum mechanical phenomena, like superposition and entanglement. Quantum computing will be extremely useful to the next-generation of computing and communication technology.

However, the quantum computing is not going to come easily, and we don’t know anything for sure – when it will arrive and what exactly it will look like.

At present, dozens of companies and research institutes are trying to use different techniques to create the most powerful computer world has ever witnessed. It will be able to efficiently solve problems that aren’t possible on existing supercomputers.

The development of actual quantum machine is in its infancy, but tons of experiments have been conducted, in which quantum operations were performed on a small scale [small no. of qubits]. To learn more, you can read all interesting facts and latest researches on quantum computing.

Below, we’ve listed all advanced quantum processor chips developed so far. Although a fully functional quantum computer is a long term goal, these chips represent major milestones in efforts to the development of future computing technologies.

5. Rigetti 19Q

Rigetti 19Q superconducting processor

Rigetti Computing develops quantum integrated circuits, and “Forest” cloud platform to help coders write quantum algorithms. It’s a full-stack company that fabricates quantum chips, builds controlling architecture and develops algorithms for the processors.

Their latest superconducting quantum processor has 19 fully programmable qubits. Recently, they demonstrated unsupervised machine learning using 19Q. They did this with their own classical/quantum hybrid algorithm for clustering.

The 19Q chip is currently available as a configurable backend in Forest. You can apply for the access.

4. Google Bristlecone

Bristlecone processor | Qubits with nearest neighbor connectivity are represented by symbol X 

Bristlecone is a new quantum processor developed by Google. It’s a gate-based superconducting system that provides testbed for research related to qubit technology, machine learning, quantum simulation and optimization.  

In the next 5 years, Google is intended to achieve something they call “quantum supremacy” and facilitate development of quantum algorithm on actual hardware. Bristlecone is scaled to a square array of 72 qubits, and it follows the physics of Google’s previous 9 qubit linear array technology.

3. Intel Tangle Lake

Intel Corporation’s 49-qubit quantum computing test chip49-qubit quantum computing test chip | Tangle Lake

In January 2018, Intel announced a 49-qubit superconducting quantum chip, named Tangle Lake. It’s a 3*3 inch chip that will let scientists improve error correction methods and simulate computational problems.

In addition, Intel also unveiled a neuromorphic research chip, named Loihi, which mimics the operations performed in human brain. The chip is developed with an objective of making deep learning more efficient.

Intel is also working on a spin qubits in silicon. They are smaller than superconducting quantum bits, and thus have a scaling advantage. They have already developed a spin qubit fabrication flow on 300 millimeter process technology.

2. IBM Q

IBM Q was launched in 2017 as an initiative to develop commercial quantum computers for science and business. So far they’ve built and tested 2 machines –

  1. 20-qubits superconducting quantum chip
  2. 50-qubits prototype that will be the basis of upcoming IBM Q systems.

Compared to previous quantum machines, the 20-qubits processor has nearly twice the coherence time. It has an average of 90 microseconds, whereas previous generation quantum processor had an average coherence time of 50 microseconds. The system is developed to scale; 50-qubits prototype yields similar performance.

They have also developed the Quantum Information Software Kit (QISkit) open for public use. It allows you to execute quantum circuit-based experimental programs on a quantum circuit simulator running on the Cloud or a laptop.

Read: Could We Be Performing Quantum Computing In Our Own Brain?

1. D-Wave 2000Q

Image credit: D-Wave

In 2017, D-Wave announced 2000Q quantum computer and an open-source software, Obsolv, that solves quadratic unconstrained binary optimization problem on both 2000Q and conventional hardware architectures

2000Q is company’s follow up to the 1000-qubits 2X. The jump from 1000 to 2048-qubits enables researchers to deal with larger quantities of data and more complex problems. According to the company, 2000Q can outperform conventional servers by factors of 1,000 – 10,000.

Temporal Defense Systems Inc. purchased 2000Q to solve critical and complex cybersecurity problems. Although they didn’t reveal the price, the machine is valued at $15 million.

While D-Wave’s computers are using quantum mechanics for calculations, it is not clear if they will ever be able to solve real-world problems. For now, they are only suitable for solving optimization problems.

Read: A New Quantum Particle – 3D Skyrmion In A Quantum Gas

Considering D-Wave’s pattern of doubling performance every 2 years, the company may release 4000-qubits quantum machine in 2019.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is an experienced science and technology journalist interested in machines, AI, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out what his latest project is, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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