A quantum computer in a vibration-free building. Quantum computing will ultimately speed up the computational power that drives many industries and could affect everything from drug discovery to how data is secured.
Oliver Berg | Picture Alliance | Getty Images
Quantum computing was already gathering pace in Japan and elsewhere in Asia when the University of Tokyo and IBM launched their new quantum computer last year.
The computer was the second such system built outside the United States by IBM — the latest in a string of key moves in quantum research.
Quantum computing refers to the use of quantum mechanics to run calculations. Quantum computing can run multiple processes at once by using quantum bits, unlike binary bits which power traditional computing.
The new technology will ultimately speed up the computational power that drives many industries and could affect everything from drug discovery to how data is secured. Several countries are racing to get quantum computers fully operational.
Christopher Savoie, CEO of quantum computing firm Zapata, who spent much of his career in Japan, said technological development has been very U.S.-centric. But now, Asian nations don’t want to be left behind on quantum computing, he added.
“Nation states like India, Japan and China are very much interested in not being the only folks without a capability there. They don’t want to see the kind of hegemony that’s arisen where the large cloud aggregators by and large are only US companies,” Savoie said, referring to the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
China, for example, has committed a great deal of brainpower to the quantum race. Researchers have touted breakthroughs and debates are simmering over whether China has surpassed the U.S. on some fronts.
India, for its part, announced plans earlier this year to invest $1 billion in a five-year plan to develop a quantum computer in the country.
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