(Axios) Bryan Walsh of Axios writes “Quantum computing is taking its first steps from the lab to the real world.”
There are growing signs the progress made in the lab on quantum computing is beginning to transfer into meaningful commercial products, especially in cloud computing. Earlier this week Xanadu announced a partnership with AWS that will bring its open-source quantum software library PennyLane to the cloud computing giant, a sign of what Xamado CEO Weedbrook calls “validation of the commercial applications for quantum.” Last week IBM reached a new quantum volume — one of the most widely accepted general measures of quantum computing performance — on one of its systems. On Wednesday Cambridge Quantum Computing in the U.K. announced a $45 million financing round, the largest for any quantum software company this year.
Why it matters: The modern world has been built on the back of extraordinary advances in computing power, but as that progress slows, quantum computers could take up the baton, bringing computing into a new era — and providing massive rewards to the companies and countries that lead the way.
In a paper published in Science last week, a team of researchers in China harnessed the mysterious workings of quantum mechanics to perform computations in minutes that would have taken billions of years using conventional machines. “This is a wonderful demonstration of what you can do with this technology,” says Christian Weedbrook, CEO of the quantum-computing startup Xanadu, which is working on building machines with a similar photonics-based foundation.
Last year a team from Google built a quantum computer that they claimed achieved “quantum supremacy,” performing computations in minutes that would have taken the most powerful supercomputers 10,000 years. Unlike the Chinese team, Google’s quantum computer was programmable, and as Weedbrook points out any computer should “inherently have programmability implied. That would be a criticism of the [team in China’s] paper.”