IBM announced on Monday the IBM Q service, through which researchers and large enterprises can develop data processing algorithms on an experimental quantum computer in New York, where you will have access through the cloud. The system is far from being able to compete with classical computers, but the company hopes that the experimental service will encourage the development of quantum algorithms and accelerate the adoption of quantum systems from industry.
A few days earlier, at the end of last week, Google’s researchers presented their vision of the “quantum superiority” in the journal Nature, announcing a corresponding experimental cloud service. “The field of quantum computers a historic landmark will soon reach” write, vowing that quantum systems will soon surpass traditional PCs, at least in some applications.
Quantum computers exploit properties of subatomic physics that literally defy the logic of the everyday world. Current chips store data in transistors, each of which stores one bit of information, which can take the values ”0″ or “1”. In quantum systems, the corresponding unit of information is the qubit, which paradoxically can be found in the statements “0” and “1” simultaneously. On the basis of this reasoning is the quantum effect of superposition, in which a subatomic particle can be in several states at once, until it is a bother to the count.
The fact that each qubit can simultaneously take two values mean that quantum computers could, in theory at least, infinitely faster than the conventional systems to solve specific problems, such as breaking encryption keys.