Google reclaims quantum computer crown with 72 qubit processor

Google yesterday unveiled the world’s largest quantum computer processor to date. Dubbed Bristlecone, it’s a 72-qubit gate-based superconducting system that blows the previous best, IBM’s 50-qubit processor, out of the water. The race to build the world’s first useful quantum computer is nearing its end.

The Mountain View company’s Research at Google team created the 72-qubit processor by scaling its previous 9-qubit system. Its obvious goal is to provide the power and stability necessary for quantum computers to become functionally useful.

Google and IBM aren’t the only companies trying to be first in the race to quantum supremacy. Microsoft has its own quantum computing research division while Intel is putting quantum computer processors on silicon chips. And several startups, like Rigetti, are at the cutting-edge as well.

There’s still a few challenges standing in the way of quantum systems for the time being. Right now they’re not feasible for anything except laboratory work, though quantum computing in the cloud already brings the systems to developers for remote experimentation.

And error-correction is still a major issue. It’s safe to say the bulk of work in the field is on cutting down on interference called ‘noise’ that makes it difficult to get accurate readings from qubits.


But, as TNW CEO Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten says, “technology is at an inflection point now.” And Google is out in front for the time being when it comes to quantum computing.