YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y., Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) program has notified IBM that it will award its scientists a major multi-year research grant to advance the building blocks for a universal quantum computer.
A universal quantum computer uses quantum mechanics to process massive amounts of data and perform computations in powerful new ways not possible with today's conventional computers. This type of leap forward in computing could one day shorten the time to discovery for life-saving cancer drugs to a fraction of what it is today; unlock new facets of artificial intelligence by vastly accelerating machine learning; or safeguard cloud computing systems to be impregnable from cyber-attack. Earlier this year, IBM scientists demonstrated critical breakthroughs to detect quantum errors by combining superconducting quantum bits (qubits) in lattices on computer chips - and whose quantum circuit design is the only physical architecture that can scale to larger dimensions. The award is funded under the Logical Qubits (LogiQ) program of IARPA led by Dr. David Moehring. The LogiQ Program seeks to overcome the limitations of current quantum systems by building a logical qubit from a number of imperfect physical qubits. Under the LogiQ program, IBM's research team will continue to pursue the leading approach for building a universal quantum computer by using superconducting qubits. By encoding the superconducting qubits into a logical qubit, one should then be able to perform true quantum computation. These logical qubit designs will be foundational to future, more complex quantum computing systems.