(Gov.tech.com) Once confined to high-tech labs at research universities and leading technology firms, quantum computers are beginning to tackle a range of problems that include science, health care, business and government. Technologists, academia and government will need to collaborate to make quantum computers truly useful.
The new era began in 2016 for IBM, when it made its quantum computer available for public use over cloud computing. “That changed the experience from a couple of people in a lab to allowing virtually anyone on the planet to have access to real quantum computers, so they could learn more,” said Scott Crowder, chief technology officer for IMB Q systems.
As the cloud has opened up IBM’s quantum program to a new generation of users, the firm’s partnership program has been working more exclusively with select academic institutions, government laboratories and business customers for research into the behavior of matter at the molecular level, as well as into more practical problems. Crowder described these efforts as too small for any production value, but as a way for their partners to see how rapidly the technology is evolving.
Microsoft is another major player in quantum computing. The software giant has been working with the technology for almost 20 years and has ramped up work on creating a stable, end-to-end system that can be integrated with cloud technology, according to Julie Love, director of Quantum Business Development at Microsoft. Microsoft is working with key customers to design quantum algorithms that can run on future, scalable hardware.
Quantum computing remains a heavy lift that can’t be carried by tech firms alone if the technology is to become sustainable and scalable. “We need a partnership between technology, business, academia and government to make this happen,” Crowder said.