Semiconductor Engineering Editor: ‘The Great Quantum Computing Race’
(SemiEngineering) Companies and countries are pouring tens of billions of dollars into different qubit technologies, but it’s still too early to predict a winner, writes Mark LaPedus Executive Editor for manufacturing at Semiconductor Engineering in his lengthy discussion of quantum computing which IQT-NEWS has summarized here.
As of July 2021, a group from China appears to have taken the lead in terms of raw performance, but Google, IBM, Intel and other quantum computer developers aren’t far behind. All of that could change overnight, though. At this point, it’s too early to declare a winner in quantum computing, a technology that promises to outperform today’s conventional supercomputers.
Companies, governments, R&D organizations and universities are developing quantum technologies and pouring billions of dollars into the arena. If they are realized, quantum computers could accelerate the development of new chemistries, drugs and materials. The systems also could crack any encryption, which has made their development a top priority among several nations. And across the board, it could provide companies and countries with a competitive edge.
Quantum computing is at the forefront of national initiatives. There have been more than $20 billion in investments announced across 15 countries here. Geopolitical powerhouses like the U.S. and China are certainly leading the race to claim quantum supremacy, followed by a host of others from Europe and Asia.
Meanwhile, there is another race within this race. Vendors are developing a dozen types of qubits based on a range of technologies, such as ion trap, silicon spin and superconductivity. Vendors from each camp claim their technology is superior, and will enable practical quantum computers. It’s too early to declare a technology winner here, as well.
Even if quantum computers realize their potential, they won’t replace today’s computers. “Quantum computing is clearly an important future technology for some types of computing problems. Prime factorization is another task that quantum computing is known to be far superior at than classical computing.
LaPedus writes in conclusion: Perhaps a bigger question is whether quantum computing will ever live up to the hype. But companies and countries are betting big on this technology. And given the progress so far, the current results and activity make this all worth watching.