We can all agree that the advancement of technology, even from 10 years ago, has been profound. We now have phones that are, effectively, miniature computers, 3D printers, and self-driving cars, amongst many other life-changing inventions. Looking at the vast array of technology available today, it is difficult to predict what will come next. However, a new project that has taken over the technological sphere involves quantum computers, and a young startup company seems to be a front-runner in making the first functional one.
Rigetti Computing operates in a small Berkeley office space, working on producing a prototype quantum computer chip by the year 2017. Why by 2017? Apparently, the company, which is only a couple of years old, is attempting to release one of these chips before Google has a chance. They are working around the clock to make complex quantum computing, a concept that was once merely theoretical, a reality.
Quantum computers have been an unreachable technological goal up until now. Qubits, small devices involved in the quantum computing process, must be able to work together, but so far they are only known to interfere with the processing of each other. According to the company’s founder, Rigetti Computing has manufactured qubits that are stable and can work together on a much larger scale. However, Google’s CEO has said the same thing, which makes it unclear as to who will be able to release a prototype of a quantum computing chip before the other.
Rigetti Computing is aiming to create a chip that makes machines operate and learn more quickly, as well as able to run complex simulations in scientific fields. These computers will be complex problem-solvers, which could revolutionize industrial processes by making them more efficient in their energy usage than they are today.
Not only does the company want to create a prototype quantum computer chip, their ultimate goal is to send quantum computing into the cloud. They want to form a quantum-powered cloud computing service that is accessible to all with internet access. For a fee, any person or company would be able to run their problems on the quantum-computer chips, for quick and accurate results and solutions. They also want to be able to someday allow other companies to write code for their quantum hardware.
Of course, even just creating the prototype costs millions of dollars, which is money that Google has, but Rigetti Computing, as a small company, does not. However, the startup is not fazed. Rather, they believe that working in a smaller environment gives them an advantage over Google because their efforts are more focused.
The idea of quantum computing becoming a reality is exciting, but I believe what is more exciting is the prospect of a small startup company releasing such advanced technology. This could change the technological startup environment in a big way, and could spur intelligent young people to start their own companies in an effort to disrupt the technological sphere. I am hopeful, but there is still a long way to go to see if Rigetti Computing will be able to make quantum computing a reality, before much larger companies.