Image: IBM Quantum System One. Source: IBM Research
Berlin (AP) — IBM unveiled one of Europe’s most powerful quantum computers in Germany on Tuesday, boosting the country’s efforts to stay in competition for what is considered a key technology of the future.
Quantum computers use elementary particles to overcome the limitations of traditional physics and perform calculations much faster than the fastest supercomputers in existence. This has long been seen as a protection for esoteric research, but companies are increasingly hoping to leverage quantum computers to develop new materials, drugs, or artificial intelligence applications.
The new IBM system is the first quantum computer outside the United States and already has more than 30 computers. It is located in the Ehningen facility operated by the research institute of the Fraunhofer Society of Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video link at the time of the official announcement that she would play an important role in the country’s efforts to provide a driving force for economic growth while maintaining “technical and digital sovereignty.”
“Of course, we’re not the only ones who have such ideas,” she said. “Especially the United States and China are investing heavily.”
Chancellor Merkel said the government recently decided to increase funding for quantum computing research by € 2 billion ($ 2.4 billion) over the next five years.
“Other parts of the world aren’t sleeping in this area,” said a 66-year-old who was a quantum chemist in East Germany before entering politics.
According to IBM, Eeningen’s system can process 27 qubits at the same time. However, Martin Jetter, chairman of the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa, said IBM is aiming for a stable quantum computer capable of processing more than 1,000 qubits by 2023.
Source: Associated Press