(CNET) There’s a race afoot in quantum computing. Across the globe, tech giants are building their own machines and speeding to make them available to the world as a cloud computing service. In the competition: IBM, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon, IonQ, Quantum Circuits, Rigetti Computing and the newest to uncloak its quantum computing plans, Honeywell.
f one player does get ahead, it could cash in on a computing revolution the way IBM did with personal computers and Apple did with smartphones. Quantum computers won’t displace conventional machines, but they could offer breakthroughs impossible for classical computers to achieve, including developing new materials, cutting city traffic or making a fleet of trucks deliver packages more efficiently.
Researchers and companies are getting started today with 225,000 people trying their hand at quantum computer programming on the IBM Quantum Experience cloud service. And more than 100 companies are paying for its IBM Q premium service, which grants access to the company’s experts as well as its hardware. “We have a fleet of 15 of these computers in the cloud,” said Jamie Garcia, IBM’s quantum applications leader. They’re all currently in New York, but Germany and Japan will each get one after IBM signed agreements with those countries’ governments.