(CNET) IBM has doubled the performance of its quantum computers compared with last year’s model, a key step in delivering on the promise of the revolutionary machines. But it’s only an early step, and CNET’s Stephen Shankland says quantum computing rivals are breathing down Big Blue’s neck.
In 2019, IBM reached a quantum volume of 32. This year, it reached 64, adding a second year to its plan to double quantum volume annually. That exponential pace of improvement is important to making today’s quantum computers more useful — and to sustaining interest long enough for quantum computers to become truly practical beyond today’s research-oriented machines.
The technology is important enough to trigger major, years-long investment programs from tech giants like IBM, Google, Intel and Microsoft, along with a gaggle of startups and one interesting player trying to reclaim its place in the computing industry, Honeywell. It’s still early days, though: IBM is a leader in the market, and it’s got only 22 machines running right now, up from 18 quantum computers in May.