(Fortune.com) IBM earned a record 9,100 U.S. patents in 2018, marking the 26th year in a row the Armonk, New York-based company has been the top recipient. IBM’s latest patent haul, which topped the 9,043 it received last year, includes a growing number of inventions related to artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
In an interview, IBM researcher Jeff Welser commented that quantum computing will start having a real world impact in the next few years as scientists learn how to add more qubits—the unit of information analogous to bits in classical computing—and store them in a stable state. “We’ll see quantum computing’s first impact in the areas of chemistry and science. Once you get to 100 qubits, you can suddenly do stuff you can’t do other ways,” said Welser, adding that 50 qubits is the maximum viable number of qubits today.