True quantum computing could be realized relatively soon, according to some industry analysts.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Google recently announced their D-Wave 2X quantum computer solved an optimization problem 100 million times faster than a conventional computer running a single-core processor. The research is part of their agenda to advance artificial intelligence and machine learning with the D-Wave computers.
"D-Wave is at the head of the pack because they actually have a computer built," notes IDC analyst Steve Conway. "Some say it's not a real quantum computer, but Google and NASA think it's something worth testing."
In another sign of progress, last week IBM announced the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity program awarded it a multi-year research grant to further its push to construct a quantum system. Nevertheless, Conway expects a long time to pass before quantum computing is commercialized, while Pund-IT analyst Charles King thinks serious advances may arrive within five to 10 years, partly thanks to IBM's work.
"It seems to me that with more energy and funding behind quantum projects than ever before, there's a real chance of building sustainable momentum around the technology," King says. "If that occurs, in a few years we'll be talking about systems that are the stuff of science fiction."
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