Who’s developing quantum computers?

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There are two main camps in the quantum computing development, says Ashish Nadkarni, Program Vice President of Computing Platforms, Worldwide Infrastructure at IDC. In the first camp are entrenched players from the world of classical computing. And in the second are quantum computing startups.

“It’s a highly fragmented landscape,” Nadkarni says. “Each company has its own approach to building a universal quantum computer and delivering it as a service.”

Classic-computing vendors pioneer quantum computing

Along with IBM, other classical computing companies staking a claim in the emerging field of quantum computing include:

Alphabet Inc.’s Google recently said it’s “cautiously optimistic” that its new Bristlecone quantum processor, with 72 qubits, can achieve “quantum supremacy.” Quantum supremacy, or quantum advantage as some call it, will happen when a quantum computer can solve a problem that a classical supercomputer can’t.

Intel announced its 49-qubit quantum test chip named Tangle Lake at CES 2018. The company said Tangle Lake “represents progress toward Intel’s goal of developing a complete-quantum computing system.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that quantum computing, along with AI and augmented reality, are the three technologies most important to its future. Among Microsoft’s quantum-computing efforts, the company is developing a quantum computer that will be a part of its Azure cloud within five years. And it has released a free preview version of its Quantum Development Kit, for those who want to start writing applications for quantum computers.

Quantum computing startups

Rigetti Computing, founded in 2013, is a “full-stack quantum-computing company,” meaning that it builds hardware and software to store and process quantum information. The company also offers a quantum-computing platform called Forest.

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