The Race to Quantum Technologies and Quantum Computers (Useful Links)

One of my main research directions in the last decade is  quantum information theory and quantum computers. (See this post and this one.) It is therefore a pleasure to report and give many links on the massive efforts carried out these days in these directions and the great enthusiasm and hope these efforts carry.

Updates: I will try to update this post by adding new items at the end (and some important older items that I forgot to include). Update 1, April-May 2017, posted May 24, 2017. Update 2, June-July 2017, posted July 19; revised July 27, 2017. Update 3 August-September 2017, posted September 27, 2017. Short update 4 – January 26, 2018. Short update 5- April, 3, 2018. Very short update, April 3, 2018.

Europe quantum flagship

European Commission will launch €1 billion quantum technologies flagship; The full quantum manifesto;

An article in the Economist

A general article about quantum technologies and computing  in the Economist.

An article in “Nature”

“Nature” article  Quantum computers ready to leap out of the lab in 2017.  It is mainly on Google, Microsoft, and Monroe’s lab mentioning also IBM, Rigetti and Quantum Circuits (a new startup by the Yale group). A little debate between John Martinis and Robert Schoelkopf about the target of “quantum supremacy.”  Regarding topological quantum computing Leo Kouwenhoven declares that “2017 is the year of braiding,”

For the comment section: “Quantum computers” in various languages

How to say “Quantum computers” in other languages? Hebrew: מחשבים קוונטים pronounced: maghshevim kvantim; Spanish: Computadoras cuánticas (google translate).

Please contribute! For earlier efforts in this spirit see “more or less in various languages” and “When it rains it pours” in various languages. Of course, ordinary comments are welcome as well.

Google/IBM/Microsoft and others: the race for building quantum computers.

The Race to Sell True Quantum Computers Begins Before They Really Exist, (Wired)  Mainly on Google and IBM. IBM Inches Ahead of Google in Race for Quantum Computing Power, MIT Technology Review.  Commercialize quantum technologies in five years (Nature)

IBM: IBM’s quantum cloud computer goes commercial (Nature) IBM moves from a 5-qubit quantum computer to 50-qubit commercial quantum computer in the near future. Also IBM’s first commercial quantum computer paves way to overhaul of molecular simulations (chemistry world);  IBM Building First Universal Quantum Computers for Business and Science (IBM Press Release); and a PC World article.

Google: Researchers Report Milestone in Developing Quantum Computer (NYT);  Quantum computing is poised to transform our lives. Meet the man leading Google’s charge (Wired, and interview with John Martinis)

Microsoft: Microsoft Makes Bet Quantum Computing Is Next Breakthrough (NYT) ; Inside Microsoft’s quest for a topological quantum computer (Nature) Microsoft doubles down on quantum computing bet. Microsoft approach is based on topological quantum computing.

Others: Scientists are close to building a quantum computer that can beat a conventional one, Science, Chris Monroe and the Startup ionQ, and various other groups and methods. Quantum Computing on Cusp, EE Times, Yale’s group and Quantum Circuits.  Quantum hanky-panky (Seth Lloyd, Edge); Its much bigger than it looks (David Deutsch, Edge);

NIST:  National Institute of Standards and Technology, quantum divisions.  Super quantum simulator ‘entangles’ hundreds of ions (Science daily)  Quantum computers may have higher ‘speed limits’ than thought ( A thought experiment by Stephen Jordan.

D-wave. D-wave is building large scale quantum computers with (rather noisy) superconducting qubits, and implement specific optimization algorithms. D-Wave quantum computers: The smart person’s guide .  Quantum computer learns to ‘see’ trees Science Magazine. An article in Quanta Magazine.

List of companies involved in quantum computers. A few webpages:  1Qbit ; D-wave ; Quantum circuits (Yale group) ; Rigetti ; Monroe’s blog; Station Q (Microsoft); Google; IBM-Q; NASA;

Quantum Error-Correcting

The key for large scale universal quantum computers is quantum error-correcting codes.

IBM to develop hardware to wipe out errors in quantum computing (New Scientists)

Error fix for long-lived qubits brings quantum computers nearer (New Scientist)

Physicists show that real-time error correction in quantum (Phys.Org, reporting on research in South Africa)

New Yale-developed device lengthens the life of quantum information (Yale news)

Quantum supremacy

A convincing demonstration of computational complexity supremacy is expected by researchers in the near future. Main approaches are using quantum circuits with around 50 qubits or via demonstration of BosonSampling with 20-30 bosons.

NextBigFuture. )

Revealed: Google’s plan for quantum computer supremacy (New Scientist);  How Widely Should We Draw The Circle? (Scott Aaronson on imminent demonstration of quantum supremacy); News release from Bristol U. ; Proto quantum computer inspired by Victorians gets a speed boost About BosonSampling. (New Scientist.);  Massive Disruption Is Coming With Quantum Computing, Singularity Hub

Topological quantum computing and anyons

Forging a Qubit to Rule Them All (Quanta Magazine);  Inside the Knotty World of ‘Anyon’ Particles (Quanta Magazine);  Why Insights of Nobel Physicists Could Revolutionize 21st-Century (Scientific Computing): Via Majorana fermions: Physicists In China Detect The Majorana Fermion (Asian Scientist Magazine); The discovery of Majorana fermion (EurekAlert);

Simulating physics with quantum computers

Quantum computer makes first high-energy physics simulation, Nature, about the Innsbruck group.

An article with emphasis on difficulties, bringing also  my point of view.

A general article: The trouble with quantum computing by Ben Skuse, Engineering and Technology. The author expresses overall an optimistic bottom line, but explains the difficulties and also brings my point of view.

Here is the ending paragraph:

Much like outcomes in the quantum world itself, the future of quantum computing involves a number of unknowns, none of which we can predict. When and whether quantum supremacy and universal quantum computers can be achieved is currently up in the air, but the work of Chow, Lucas, Montanaro and even Kalai is contributing to tilting the odds in its favour. And each ‘step closer’ is only that. The road to quantum computing stretches off into the distance and may have no end.

Post quantum cryptography

Quantum computers will allow breaking most of current cryptosystems. This leads to much effort for “post-quantum cryptography,” namely developing cryptographic methods immune to quantum attacks.


Post-Quantum Cryptography: NIST’s Plan for the Future (U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)) NIST requests ideas for crypto that can survive quantum computers (The Register)

An article regarding RSA conference. (bank info security.); An article in Quanta Magazine

Quantum key distribution (QKD)

EXCLUSIVE – Mathematically provable communication security and other applications of Quantum Key Distribution (OpenGovAsia); Developing a quantum key system to make mobile transactions safer (New Atlas); China’s 2000-km Quantum Link Is Almost Complete (IEEE Spectrum); SK Telecom, Nokia team on quantum cryptography (Telecom Asia); Chinese Physicists Achieve Record-Breaking Quantum Cryptography Breakthrough (Hecked).

Related quantum science and technology

Atomic  clocks:  Physicists Find That as Clocks Get More Precise, Time Gets MoreScienceAlert;  JILA atomic clock mimics long-sought synthetic magnetic state; Time crystals:  Time Crystals Are Real, But That Doesn’t Mean Time Is Crystallized (Forbes); Entanglement and theoretical physics: The quantum source of space-time (Nature); The equation that could transform physics: Researchers say ER=EPR … (Daily mail). Quantum biology:  Can Quantum Physics Explain Consciousness? (The Atlantic)  Are we ready for quantum biology?, New Scientist;  A New Spin on the Quantum Brain, Quanta Magazine; quantum effects in biological systems (a conference at IIAS).

Prediction markets

Metaculus: When will the first 49+ qubit universal quantum computer be constructed? Posted March 2017, 42 predictions, median answer February 19, 2020.

Other players, U.S. China, Russia, U. K., France,  Japan, Australia, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Poland, Israel, Brazil, Korea, Finland,   … and further links.


Europe’s leap into the quantum computing arms race (Financial Times)

U.K. The future is quantum: solution to the world’s critical problems; Quantum computers will solve problems that conventional computers never could. (Financial times)

China: Chinese satellite is one giant step for the quantum internet  (Nature); 5 reasons why China will rule tech, 2017 edition (computerworld. quantum computers is one of the items).  China’s push to become a tech superpower triggers alarms abroad (Financial times, quantum computing emphasized );   China can help drive global progress in quantum computing (ZD net)

Singapore: CEO conversations: Quantum computing, leadership, and … (Enterprise Innovation).

Australia: Sydney University’s David Reilly part of Microsoft’s billion-dollar pushThe Sydney Morning Heral; Quantum computing is the next space race says Telstras Hugh Bradlow  (Financial Review, Australia).

Canada: Canada leads in the race to create Quantum ValleyThe Globe and Mail; Canada’s PM on quantum computing.

 Israel: The future is here: the quantum computer revolution (in Hebrew); Calcalist article (Hebrew); Israeli scientists discovery towards QC (in Hebrew Haaretz) ; Quantum computing breakthrough: Israeli scientists invent cannon for entangled photon clusters (International Business Times).


Update 1: April/May 2017.

IBM moves from 5 to 17 qubits; Five-Bosons Five-modes BosonSampling experiments; Similations; Cooling: Commonwealth Bank; and quantum thermodynamics.

Links to further items (mainly from the media) on quantum technology:  April May 2017

Supercomputer Simulation Offers Peek at the Future of Quantum Computers.  MIT Technology review.


“Indistinguishable Photons” Could Unleash Quantum Computing  (Inverse)

Quantum computing the new frontier for banking  (Australia) “Commonwealth Bank’s announcement that it has developed a quantum computer simulator takes the bank a step closer to its ambition of building a small, 10-qubit (quantum bits) machine by 2020.”

Microsoft’s cool quantum computing plan embraces cryogenic memory (PCworld)

Finland:  Refrigerator for quantum computers discovered Aalto University (EurekAlert),  Nanofridge could keep quantum computers cool enough to calculate New Scientist.  China: World’s First Quantum Computer Is Here (Wall street Pit) China Has Built The World’s 1st Quantum Computer, And It’s 24000 (India Times)

Google’s New Chip Is a Stepping Stone to Quantum Computing (MIT Technology Review)

Microsoft’s cool quantum computing plan embraces cryogenic memory (PC World)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum Computing (Nanalyze) (Various cool stuff) Is Bitcoin at Risk as Google and IBM Aim for 50-Qubit Quantum (Nigeria Today)

China team achieve 5-bosons 5-modes BosonSampling. High-efficiency multiphoton boson sampling : (Nature photonics); Blogpost on the Shtetl. However, UK team indicates over 50 photons needed for Boson Sampling quantum supremacy. (The next Big Future).

Quanta: The quantum thermodynamics revolution;  Why Quantum Computers Might Not Break cryptography

IBM: Moving from 5 qubits to 16/17 qubits:  IBM reveals prototype of its first commercial quantum computer processor (New Atlas);  IBM makes a leap in quantum computing power;  IBM’s quantum computer gets powerful upgrade (Reuters); and ComputerWord New Zealand; The Inquirer; IBM: Αποκαλυπτήρια πρωτότυπου κβαντικού επεξεργαστή για εμπορική χρήση; MIT Technology Review;


Update 2:  June/July 2017: Google move to 20 qubits and promises quantum supremacy by the end of 2017. A race between superconducting and ion-trapped technologies for Supremacy. U.S.-Russia Harvard-based 51 qubits cold-atom computer. Photons teleported into space.

More: Atos, IonQ, and Majorana Fermions.

(Sources: Google search, articles on quanta magazine, Facebook posts/ and blogposts by QI/QC groups, John Preskill, Sabine Hossenfelder , Scott Aaronson and others.)

Approaching supremacy

General: Quantum Computing Might Be Here Sooner Than You Think, Bloomberg; Scientific American;

The race between ion trapped and superconducting for “supremacy”: Split decision in first-ever quantum computer faceoff (Science)  Quantum computers compete for “supremacy” (Scientific American)

Google: Google on track for quantum computer breakthrough by end of 2017 (New Scientist) Big Think ;  Daily mail ;

Topological:  New method could enable more stable and scalable quantum computing, physicists report Phys. Org;  Purdue joins Microsoft in five-year mission to create topological quantum computer. Yahoo News

Rigetti : Wired; OZY ;

Cold atoms quantum computer

51 qubits via cold atoms: World’s Most Advanced Quantum Computer Created By A Team Of US And Russian Scientists (Fossbytes). The arxived paper.

Ion Q

IonQ plans to bring a general-purpose quantum computer to the market by the end of 2018. IonQ Raises $20M Series B Round Led By NEA, GV To Advance Quantum Computing For Commercial Applications ; Venture Firms Back Startup with Novel Twist on Quantum Computing (Wall Street Journal).


The European large company Atos joins the quantum race. Atos Launches 40-Qubit Quantum Computing Simulator; 

Majorana fermions

A Science article; Media coverage: Physicists Just Generated a Particle That Acts as Its Own Antiparticle (Science Alert); Latest Quantum Breakthrough: Majorana Fermions Discovered



Teleportation:  Teleportation: Photon particles today, humans tomorrow? (BBC, the article is quite reasonable.) (Time )


The recent doubts regarding LIGO are not related to quantum computers but are related to correlated noise which is also an issue for quantum computers. Was It All Just Noise? Independent Analysis Casts Doubt On LIGO’s Detections, Forbes. A very nice post by Sabine Hossenfelder;  Strange Noise in Gravitational-Wave Data Sparks Debate. Quanta Magazine;


A skeptical look: Delivering on a quantum promise by Karl Svozil  Svozil writes  “While many of the quantum manifesto’s short- and medium-term goals appear feasible, some of the long-term goals might not be achievable even in principle.”

This is quite the opposite to my own skeptical view  which is that some crucial short-term goals, primarily creating the necessary quantum error correcting codes, are infeasible. (The tragedy of skepticism – skeptics rarely agree with each other, are skeptical to views of other skeptics and also to their own views.)


Quantum machine learning: A Hybrid of Quantum Computing and Machine Learning Is Spawning New Ventures, IEEE Spectrum (Scot Aaronson is skeptical.)

New breakthrough discovery—every quantum particle travels backwards (Phys.Org)

Optical (classical) computers: Light-Powered Computers Brighten AI’s Future Scientific American

How quantum trickery can scramble cause and effect (Nature)

Harry Buhrman and Yfke Dulek give ‘Paradiso lecture’ on artificial intelligence and quantum computers  CWI (I met Harry at “IlanFest)

Blind and private quantum computers: Private quantum computation: an introduction to blind quantum computing and related protocols, Joe Fitzsimons, Nature


After 2000 years, a Jewish quantum computer? :  Jewish news: Cutting-edge tech brings super-secure quantum Israel a step closer


Update 3: August/September 2017

Microsoft Ignite 2017

Microsoft Ignite: Nadella Highlights Quantum Computing (Redmond Magazine). Microsoft announced several advances, expectations, and applications regarding quantum computers. From Microsoft makes quantum computer system breakthrough (Hexus).

“Microsoft scientists have made progress in working towards making a Topological qubit. Previously those working on designing quantum computers have struggled to create “a working qubit with high enough fidelity to be useful in building a working computer,” says Microsoft. Now it believes that it has made a breakthrough in designing a general purpose quantum computing platform.  Microsoft also announced that in order to build a ‘full stack’ it was also working on software and programming languages for topological quantum computing. The new programming language is deeply integrated into Visual Studio and will include tools familiar to those working in classical computing. Microsoft says the system will be available in free preview by the year end.”

From Microsoft’s Nadella Wants to Help Coders Take a Quantum Leap (Wired)

“Leo Kouwenhoven, based at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, presented Nadella with a palm-sized circuit board of the kind on which Kouwenhoven tries to corral Majorana particles using semiconducting nanowires. “We would like it if you think about Majoranas every day,” he told his CEO. Nadella looked genuinely excited, and holding the device, likened it to the first transistor.”

There is already plenty of relevant articles. Here is one: When Quantum Computers Come, They May Speak Microsoft (Tech News World). But as this came late in September, I will leave it mostly to next update. Here is the Microsoft quantum site.

Other updates

Quantum error-correction

Scientists solve critical challenge in building large scale fault tolerant quantum-computers (International Defense, Security and Technology); A lot of interesting material from QEC 17 via this Twitter hashtag #QEC17.

Better qubits?

This qubit redesign may make it easier to make quantum computers (New Scientists)

Chemistry and Biology

IBM Has Used Its Quantum Computer to Simulate a Molecule (MIT Technology Review), IBM Just Broke The Record of Simulating Chemistry With a Quantum Computer (Futurism)  (Another article on this development), Based on this paper in Nature;  How to measure a molecule’s energy using a quantum computer (Phys.Org)

In Pursuit of Quantum Biology With Birgitta Whaley (Quanta Magazine)

Quantum supremacy

There are various new articles on Quantum Supremacy similar to those linked earlier. Here is one: Google quantum computer test shows breakthrough is within reach (New Scientist).

Quantun software

Special volume on quantum software (Nature).

Post-quantum cryptography

How future quantum computers will threaten today’s encrypted data (;  Google’s John Martinis Believes Quantum Computing Threat to Be Long Way Off (Bitcoin News)

Applications,  implications, caution

Google, IBM Primed for a Quantum Computing Leap, Says Morgan Stanley (Barron);  How Quantum Computers Will Revolutionize Artificial Intelligence (Forbes); This Small Quantum-Computing Firm Wants to Supercharge AI Startups (MIT Tech. Review)

Hype and cash are muddying public understanding of quantum computing  (


IEEE Drives Definitions for Quantum Computing (EE Times)  (Also here IEEE推動量子運算標準定義 );

National efforts

India joins quantum computing race (The Hindu);  Quantum Supremacy: how Australia can lead the world (Australian Financial Review); Corporate Japan taking leap into quantum computing (Nikkei Asian Review);  Microsoft and Copenhagen to build quantum computer (Times Higher Education) ;  China building world’s biggest quantum research facility (South China Morning Post);

Some favorite twits by John Preskill from the QEC17 event:  Martinis explains the goal of Google supremacy experiments: to show that qubits are good enough and scalable enough for QEC to work; Poulin: As we vary the noise model, no measure of noise strength predicts the logical error rate well. Varies by orders of magnitude; Fowler: All would be fine for gate error rate below 10^{-3}, but superconducting qubit experts say that’s “probably not happening.” Hanhee Paik responds: Or probably happening? 😀 Despite the big list of errors I showed, I’m optimistic. We’re making progress, know where to fix them.  Schoelkopf reports on teleported CNOT gate between two (binomial code) logical qubits encoded in two microwave cavities. Haik on IBM Quantum Experience (16 qubits in the cloud): 50,000 users, 500,000 experiments at 150 colleges/universities, 25+ papers; Cappellaro: Quantum error correction can improve quantum sensing, and so far “we are just scratching the surface.” Preskill’s summary talk.

Coming next time: Intel! Alibaba!

Dec 4: Much has happened, IBM built a 50 qubit QC, and also manage to classically simulated this amount, Intel, Alibaba and other companies enter the QC scene. Being busy with other things I will try to make my next update on January.

January 26, 2018: Short Update 4. Fifty qubit machines are here!

A lot has happened since Update 3. IBM (Bloomberg), Google, and Intel (IEEE spectrum) managed to build a 50 qubit quantum circuit. Smaller companies like Yale based Quantum Circuits (NYT), Riggeti (ZY) are strong in the race, and competing technologies (ion trap) are also making impressive progress (Sputnik). US department of energy (DOE) joins the effort to build QC (Science). Satya Nadella said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that superfast quantum computers were needed to solve some of the most difficult problems (BBC news). A concern by O’Brian at Davos regarding dangers from imminant quantum computers. (EE News). Sober assessements by Preskill and by Quanta Magazine. (The later briefly expresses my own soberer assessment.)

April 3, 2018

There are many developments since January and as this is the one-year anniversary of the original post perhaps I should write a fresh new post. Briefly, Google is aiming now at a 72-qubits machine and while it is still an open question what quantum computers with a smaller number of qubits can do (in particular, quantum supremacy was not demonstrated),  adding more qubits is an important front toward good quantum error correcting codes.  There were importnt news on academic research and on IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and other companies with various new avenues and progress on existin avenues —  scientific, engineeing, and commercial, toward building and applying quantum computers. Alibaba created a quantum computer with eleven qubits that people can experiment.  Baidu, another major chinese company entered the race.

May 4, 2019

I did not continue following as closely but my impression is that the stream of developments and the excitement continue. When it comes to near-time demonstration of quantum supremacy (and good quality quantum error-correcting) some researchers are now talking about achieving these goals only in 3-5 years. Israeli PM committed in 2018 hundred of millions of dollars per year for research aimed at quantum technologies and quantum computers. There were articles describing  my skeptical angle, and those of Dyakonov and Vardi.

The director of IAS, Princeton also seems optimistic and enthusiastic.


This entry was posted in Computer Science and Optimization, Physics, Quantum and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Race to Quantum Technologies and Quantum Computers (Useful Links)

  1. B. says:

    French: Ordinateur quantique

  2. Dyakonov says:

    Gil, you know what I think about this: irresponsible hype with a quasi-scientific appearance.

    • Gil Kalai says:

      Dear Michel, I expressed my view many times and I decided to be nice this time 🙂 . I prefer the word “hope” on “hype,” and I do think that this is a scientific question that the “race” and immense efforts will shed light on.

  3. mvasx says:

    Portuguese: Computadores quânticos

  4. mvasx says:

    Japanese: 量子コンピュータ

    The “量子” part refers to quantum (the first kanji is related to measurements and the second one to a particular state of an object, a diminutive for some cases. So, quantum is the measure of the small things. The “コンピュータ” part is just the katakana writing for “conpiu-ta” (yep, this is “computer”).

    The reading for 量子コンピュータ is りょうしコンピュータ, which is something like: “rioshi conpiuta”. It is not possible for me to put the pronunciation details here, though.

  5. German: Quantencomputer

  6. vznvzn says:

    😀 😮 ❗ lol @ Dyakonov, found your papers years ago & very much enjoy them, & think you have many great points, but, looks like large paradigm shift in play, & sorry, looks like QC skeptics are on the losing side now. see also “gartner hype curve” for more on expectation vs reality.

    lets note however that Kalai can actually be regarded as in the skeptic column to a large degree wrt noise difficulties. which looks like the last major debate: how much can experimental QM reflect theory wrt noise considerations? seems like comprehensive theory of thermodynamic entropy wrt QM computing may still be yet to be written…

  7. Gil Kalai says:

    From FB: Ríomhairí satis! (Irish. Thanks to Jonathan P. Dowling); Квантовый компьютер (Russian), pronounced “Kvantovyj kompjuter” (thanks to Nikolai Mnev).

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  9. Gil Kalai says:

    I will try to update this post by adding new items at the end (and some important older items that I forgot to include). First Update for April-May 2017, posted May 24, 2017

  10. Matthew Cory says:

    I don’t see how the threshold theorem has anything to do with quantum computers, if you realize, like a competent mathematician or scientist, that the uncertainty principle implies all of quantum mechanics. That means under a standard (or rehashed QBism) view, we must admit that the situation could simply reduce to analog computational limits. It’s an INTERPRETATION of the physics that talks about sub-planck “negative probabilities” in pseudo-CLASSICAL distributions. There is NO PROOF IN SCIENCE for these views. NONE! They are stated dogmatically but underlie the actual differences of opinion. The lack of clear language on this point is quite astounding. A cat is not “smeared” over a distribution but the probability is. It might help to eliminate the regressive primary narcissism that eliminates the distinction between the subjective and objective. Bayes isn’t exactly new.

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  12. Pingback: If Quantum Computers are not Possible Why are Classical Computers Possible? | Combinatorics and more

  13. Catherine Lee says:

    Great Info Guys, Yes,Quantum computing could drastically change the game for many industries – from healthcare to business. But the question is who owns the future of quantum computing? .Check it out.

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