The race to build a scalable and viable quantum computer is driven by the thirst to create an extremely fast and powerful device -- one that would make today's computers look like old, doddering abacuses by comparison. Consider this, then -- if one quantum computer can be orders of magnitude more powerful than its conventional counterpart, what can a series of interconnected quantum computers achieve? It is this question that motivated researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Harvard University to demonstrate a technique for connecting, or "bridging," quantum computers at an atomic scale. "People have already built small quantum computers," Ryan Camacho, a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories, and co-author of a study detailing the process, said in a statement. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer but a connected cluster of small ones."
Intel is taking a slow and steady approach to quantum computing. Competitors like Google may be racing to achieve so-called quantum supremacy, in which a quantum computer outperforms an ordinary one. But Intel's James Clarke has bigger ideas. He leads the firm's quantum computing research team, and says it is looking past near-term goals in order to be the first to make a device with a million qubits, or quantum bits – enough to have a real impact on the world.
Quantum computers need memory to perform tasks like their conventional counterparts, but it's hard to create that memory when it only takes nearby vibrating atoms to lose all their data. Scientists may have a clever solution, though: tune diamond like a guitar string. They've crafted a quantum memory system where micron-wide diamond crystal strings house impurities that are better suited to data-storing electrons. If you subject the diamond to a voltage, you can stretch it and boost the frequencies the electrons are sensitive to, much like you would tighten a guitar string to change its pitch. It'll be harder to disturb the data, in other words.
IBM continues to push its quantum computing efforts forward and today announced that it will soon make a 53-qubit quantum computer available to clients of its IBM Q Network. The new system, which is scheduled to go online in the middle of next month, will be the largest universal quantum computer available for external use yet. The new machine will be part of IBM's new Quantum Computation Center in New York State, which the company also announced today. The new center, which is essentially a data center for IBM's quantum machines, will also feature five 20-qubit machines, but that number will grow to 14 within the next month. IBM promises a 95% service availability for its quantum machines.