IBM's Quantum Computing Project Backed Up By Berlin’s 650 Million Euros

IBM's Quantum Computing Project Backed Up By Berlin’s 650 Million Euros
An undated handout photo shows the IBM Q System One at the IBM Research Center in Yorktown Heights, U.S. (Photo: REUTERS/IBM Handout )

The Berlin government is going to put in 650 million euros ($717 million) over two years in an American computer hardware company that has operations in 170 countries, IBM, to study further uses and possibilities of quantum computing.

The agreement was reached in the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.

Germany, Europe's largest economy, is intensifying its move in catching up in technology with the US and China.

When Merkel visited China in 2018, she was impressed with what she saw.

She held hours of meeting and said a month later that for a long time, Germany was the first "to come up with technological innovations" stressing that it isn't the case anymore and that it "should worry" the country.

Merkel's government last year said it would make available 3 billion euros for artificial intelligence (AI) by 2025 so Germany can regain its ground in cutting-edge research.

Together with the applied research institute, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, IBM would put a Q System One quantum computer at one of its facilities in Germany to explore further potentials of quantum computing.

President of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Professor Reimund Neugebauer, said that not only is the alliance of IBM and Germany a landmark, but it is also an important move for German business and research institutions.

Likewise, Martin Jetter, senior vice president and chairman of IBM Europe said the partnership "is to be a major catalyst for Europe's innovation." 

Quantum computers are millions of times faster than today's supercomputers.

If the basic unit of information in a usual computer is called a bit, a qubit is the basic unit of information in a quantum computer.

Quantum computers' qubits get superposed upon each other, increasing the amount of information that can get processed.

IBM's updated Q System One machines have 20 qubits.

Martin Jetter, senior vice president and chairman of IBM Europe, says that these two countries' efforts are "poised to be a major catalyst for Europe's innovation landscape and research capabilities."

The superconductivity that quantum computers rely on can only be achieved in a controlled environment with temperatures kept close to zero.

IBM branched into artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

It had only used IBM Q System One in a research setting since it got launched in January.

IBM hopes to make it Q System One accessible via the IBM cloud with the potential to map complex molecular structures and chemical reactions thus making artificial intelligence very powerful.

Quantum computing can specifically do chemical simulations, data discovery, machine learning, material science, molecular modeling, and physics.

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