IBM publishes its quantum roadmap, says it will have a 1,000-qubit machine in 2023

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IBM Quantum Hummingbird

IBM today, for the first time, published its road map for the future of its quantum computing hardware. There is a lot to digest here, but the most important news in the short term is that the company believes it is on its way to building a quantum processor with more than 1,000 qubits — and somewhere between 10 and 50 logical qubits — by the end of 2023.

Currently, the company’s quantum processors top out at 65 qubits. It plans to launch a 127-qubit processor next year and a 433-qubit machine in 2022. To get to this point, IBM is also building a completely new dilution refrigerator to house these larger chips, as well as the technology to connect multiple of these units to build a system akin to today’s multi-core architectures in classical chips.

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Inside the race to build the best quantum computer on Earth

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IBM thinks quantum supremacy is not the milestone we should care about.

Google’s most advanced computer isn’t at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, nor anywhere in the febrile sprawl of Silicon Valley. It’s a few hours’ drive south in Santa Barbara, in a flat, soulless office park inhabited mostly by technology firms you’ve never heard of.

An open-plan office holds several dozen desks. There’s an indoor bicycle rack and designated “surfboard parking,” with boards resting on brackets that jut out from the wall. Wide double doors lead into a lab the size of a large classroom. There, amidst computer racks and jumbles of instrumentation, a handful of cylindrical vessels—each a little bigger than an oil drum—hang from vibration-damping rigs like enormous steel pupae.

On one of them, the outer vessel has been removed to expose a multi-tiered tangle of steel and brass innards known as “the chandelier.” It’s basically a supercharged refrigerator that gets colder with each layer down. At the bottom, kept in a vacuum a hair’s breadth above absolute zero, is what looks to the naked eye like an ordinary silicon chip. But rather than transistors, it’s etched with tiny superconducting circuits that, at these low temperatures, behave as if they were single atoms obeying the laws of quantum physics. Each one is a quantum bit, or qubit—the basic information–storage unit of a quantum computer.

Late last October, Google announced that one of those chips, called Sycamore, had become the first to demonstrate “quantum supremacy” by performing a task that would be practically impossible on a classical machine. With just 53 qubits, Sycamore had completed a calculation in a few minutes that, according to Google, would have taken the world’s most powerful existing supercomputer, Summit, 10,000 years. Google touted this as a major breakthrough, comparing it to the launch of Sputnik or the first flight by the Wright brothers—the threshold of a new era of machines that would make today’s mightiest computer look like an abacus.

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New battery tech can keep your smartphone charged for five continuous days

h can keep your smartphone charged for five continuous days

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The new high-capacity lithium-sulfur batteries can pave way for cheaper electric cars and solar grids.

Researchers have developed a new solution that is capable of powering smartphones for five continuous days or electric cars to run over 1,000 km without needing to refuel.

The new battery solution does away with the traditional lithium-ion combination in modern batteries that power devices such as smartwatches, smartphones, and even pacemakers. Instead, researchers used lithium-sulfur batteries to achieve ultra-high capacity.

Researchers at Australia-based Monash University said the team could re-configure the design of sulfur cathodes using the existing materials in standard lithium-ion batteries. The reconfiguration helped researchers achieve higher stress levels without registering any drop in overall capacity or performance.

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Successful deployment of CQC’s Iron Bridge Quantum Photonic Cryptography Device into IBM Key Protect

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The IronBridge 4 qubit cryptographic device, which can generate quantum secure keys for your applications, successfully integrates with IBM Key Protect for IBM Cloud.

Cambridge Quantum Computing has integrated its IronBridge quantum photonic cryptographic device with IBM Key Protect and can demonstrate the generation of post-quantum secure keys.

This solution requires minimal changes to existing infrastructure and interfaces natively with the IBM Cloud platform. This project was achieved through Cambridge Quantum Computing working with the IBM Key Protect team. Technically, this provides the IBM Cloud with various forms of post-quantum encryption keys and enhanced security around existing cryptography, as classical AES keys benefit from being generated from a quantum source of entropy. The keys are generated through NIST pre-approved algorithms and are uploaded and stored ready for use as Key Protect Standard Keys.

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Robot debates humans about the dangers of artificial intelligence

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Project Debater argued both for and against the benefits of artificial intelligence

An artificial intelligence has debated the dangers of AI – narrowly convincing audience members that the technology will do more good than harm.

Project Debater, a robot developed by IBM, spoke on both sides of the argument, with two human teammates for each side helping it out. Talking in a female American voice to a crowd at the University of Cambridge Union on Thursday evening, the AI gave each side’s opening statements, using arguments drawn from more than 1100 human submissions made ahead of time.

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120 million workers will need to be retrained due to AI, says IBM study

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The skills gap is widening between people and AI.

But many CEOs tell IBM they don’t have the resources needed to close the skills gap brought on by emerging technologies.

Artificial Intelligence is apparently ready to get to work. Over the next three years, as many as 120 million workers from the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained because of advances in artificial intelligence and intelligent automation, according to a study released Friday by IBM’s Institute for Business Value. However, less than half of CEOs surveyed by IBM said they had the resources needed to close the skills gap brought on by these new technologies.

“Organizations are facing mounting concerns over the widening skills gap and tightened labor markets with the potential to impact their futures as well as worldwide economies,” said Amy Wright, a managing partner for IBM Talent & Transformation, in a release. “Yet while executives recognize severity of the problem, half of those surveyed admit that they do not have any skills development strategies in place to address their largest gaps.”

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IBM just made its cancer-fighting AI projects open-source

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IBM recently developed three artificial intelligence tools that could help medical researchers fight cancer.

Now, the company has decided to make all three tools open-source, meaning scientists will be able to use them in their research whenever they please, according to ZDNet. The tools are designed to streamline the cancer drug development process and help scientists stay on top of newly-published research — so, if they prove useful, it could mean more cancer treatments coming through the pipeline more rapidly than before.

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IBM is using self-driving car technology to power a new patient monitor for seniors

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The 65+ Age Group Will Make Up a Growing Portion of the US Population

 IBM Watson is trying its hand at in-home health monitoring with a new system that combines IBM’s machine learning software with cutting-edge Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors to paint an accurate, real-time picture of seniors’ daily lives.

IBM’s teaming up with UK-based startup Cera Care — which links caregivers with elderly patients — to get the product into roughly a dozen patient homes in a six-month pilot phase launching in June, Reuters reports.

Here’s what it means: IBM’s making its home healthcare debut with a unique approach.

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IBM AI fails to beat human debating champion

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Harish Natarajan triumphed over the bot in a rapid-fire challenge.

After suffering defeat to AI at Go and Dota 2, the battle between man and machine was starting to look a little one-sided. But a human has finally notched up a win against our future robot overlords. Champion debater Harish Natarajan triumphed in a live showdown against IBM’s Miss Debater AI at the company’s Think Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The 2012 European Debate winner and IBM’s black monolith exchanged quick retorts on pre-school subsidies for 25 minutes before the crowd hailed Natarajan the victor. You can watch the debate in full below.

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IBM researchers predict 5 innovations will change our lives in 5 years

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IBM Research has a long history of inventing the future, so the big tech company’s researchers take their predictions seriously. Today they are revealing their annual “5 in 5” predictions, which detail five innovations that will change our lives in the next five years.

IBM will talk about the predictions at its Think 2019 event in San Francisco on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Pacific time.

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8 companies offering work-from-home jobs that don’t require a college degree

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In an effort to secure the best talent on the market, more and more companies are expanding their applicant pool to include professionals without a traditional college degree.

Job search site Glassdoor compiled a list of who some of these companies are, with top employers like Apple, Google and IBM making the cut. Recently, FlexJobs examined that list to see which companies are also in their database with open positions that allow employees to work from anywhere. (FlexJobs notes that while some of the available work-from-home positions at these companies do require a college degree, there are many open positions that don’t.)

Take a look at the list below to see which flexible companies you should consider working for if you don’t have a four-year college education:

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IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer

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IBM Q System One

At CES, IBM today announced its first commercial quantum computer for use outside of the lab. The 20-qubit system combines into a single package the quantum and classical computing parts it takes to use a machine like this for research and business applications. That package, the IBM Q system, is still huge, of course, but it includes everything a company would need to get started with its quantum computing experiments, including all the machinery necessary to cool the quantum computing hardware. While IBM describes it as the first fully integrated universal quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use, it’s worth stressing that a 20-qubit machine is nowhere near powerful enough for most of the commercial applications that people envision for a quantum computer with more qubits — and qubits that are useful for more than 100 microseconds. It’s no surprise then, that IBM stresses that this is a first attempt and that the systems are “designed to one day tackle problems that are currently seen as too complex and exponential in nature for classical systems to handle.” Right now, we’re not quite there yet, but the company also notes that these systems are upgradable (and easy to maintain).

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