(AsiaNikkei) IBM has unveiled Japan’s first quantum computer for commercial applications, its Japanese arm said Tuesday, as Washington and Tokyo join hands to push the field toward practical use with an eye on recent strides by China.
The project marks a step forward for Japan-U.S. cooperation in a fiercely competitive field that has become embroiled in the battle with China for technological superiority. Quantum computing was among the areas of cooperation discussed by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden at their April summit.
“Countries have made huge investments and embarked on large-scale research and development, and competition for future dominance among nations and companies has intensified rapidly,” said Koichi Hagiuda, Japan’s science and technology minister, in an online briefing.
“It’s important to expand international cooperation and collaboration with Japan and the U.S. as the linchpin,” he said.
Chinese institutions including the University of Science and Technology of China have risen to the leading edge of the field, threatening the upper hand held by such American tech titans as IBM and Google. Japan and the U.S. aim to use IBM’s systems to gain an edge on the practical side.
“For the Japanese economy to maintain an appropriate position in the world and achieve sustainable growth and development, we cannot allow ourselves to fall behind in technological development,” Mizuho Financial Group Chairman Yasuhiro Sato, who chairs the Japanese quantum consortium, said Tuesday.