Japan Has Joined the Race to Gain Advantage in Quantum Computing
(AsiaNikkei) Japan’s first commercial quantum computer went into operation last month.
In Kawasaki, a city in the Tokyo metropolitan area, sits a commercial quantum computer made by IBM at the Kawasaki Business Incubation Center. Toyota Motor, Hitachi and Toshiba are among the companies that are using the device.
In Japan, a hub for IBM’s Q Network cloud quantum computing system was launched at Keio University in 2018, with Mitsubishi Chemical, JSR, Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and others leading the way. These companies, along with Keio University, will also participate in a council led by the University of Tokyo, which aims to accelerate research by using the commercial IBM device in Kawasaki.
Startups researching algorithms are also likely to play an important role in the use of quantum computers. In Japan, QunaSys is well known in this arena. The company announced in June the start of joint research with Toyota Central R&D Labs on future applications.
The use of quantum technology in artificial intelligence is receiving greater attention. AI technology, which employs machine learning, has been plagued by a phenomena known as “overfitting,” in which it learns too much from particular type of data and is unable to generalize and deal with unknown data. In July, Japanese startup Grid caused a stir when it published a paper showing, based on numerical experiments and theory, that this overfitting is less likely to occur when using a quantum computer.
Companies around the world are exploring the use of the technology. While much of the focus on quantum computing has been on the race to develop hardware by Google and IBM, another competition is now in full swing to see who can harness it faster than anyone else.