IBM makes leap in quantum computing power


IBM has some new options for businesses wanting to experiment with quantum computing.

Quantum computers, when they become commercially available, are expected to vastly outperform conventional computers in a number of domains, including machine learning, cryptography and the optimization of business problems in the fields of logistics and risk analysis.

Where conventional computers deal in ones and zeros (bits) the processors in quantum computers use qubits, which can simultaneously hold the values one and zero. This — to grossly oversimplify — allows a quantum computer with a 5-qubit processor to perform a calculation for 32 different input values at the same time.

On Wednesday, IBM put a 16-qubit quantum computer online for IBM Cloud platform customers to experiment with, a big leap from the five-qubit machine it had previously made available. The company said that machine has already been used to conduct 300,000 quantum computing experiments by its cloud service users. 

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