Quantum computers ready to leap out of the lab in 2017
Google, Microsoft and a host of labs and start-ups are racing to turn scientific curiosities into working machines.
Quantum computing has long seemed like one of those technologies that are 20 years away, and always will be. But 2017 could be the year that the field sheds its research-only image.
Computing giants Google and Microsoft recently hired a host of leading lights, and have set challenging goals for this year. Their ambition reflects a broader transition taking place at start-ups and academic research labs alike: to move from pure science towards engineering.
“People are really building things,” says Christopher Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park who co-founded the start-up IonQ in 2015. “I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s no longer just research.”