Google, IBM, Rigetti …: in the race for quantum superiority, Atos offers its arbitration

by bold-lichterman

The French IT group Atos has devised a methodology to compare the efficiency of different prototypes of quantum computers under development around the world, he announced on Friday. Several companies, from US giants Google and IBM to lesser-known firms like Rigetti, are in a race to build the quantum computer that will be the first to beat the most powerful of classical computers. Google announced at the end of 2019 that it had achieved this quantum superiority, but this assertion is disputed by IBM.

The software tool offered by Atos, called Q-Score, will allow machines to be compared by testing their ability to homogeneously solve so-called mathematical problems. “Combinatorial optimization”, for which the expectations of the industry in particular are very high. “Atos will organize the publication of an annual list of the most powerful quantum processors in the world according to Q-score”, the premiere of which is scheduled for 2021, the French IT group said in a press release on Friday. Based on the information provided by the various protagonists of the quantum computer race, Atos estimates that the Q-scores of current machines “Vary around 15” and will be around 20 in 2021.

“Quantum accelerator”

Atos believes that “ quantum superiority “ in combinatorial optimization will be achieved with a Q-score of 60. Quantum computers rely on the exploitation of surprising and sometimes counter-intuitive properties of matter at the level of the infinitely small, atoms, photons, or electrons. Their theoretical capacities are immense for certain types of calculations, and could revolutionize computing, but for now, the technology is still in its infancy.

The prototypes of existing computers do not offer sufficiently stabilized performance to allow industrial use. Atos already sells quantum simulators, which allow developers to test quantum algorithms on the basis of a classical machine transformed to behave like a quantum computer. The group has already sold 30 of them around the world, to scientific research centers or to large industrialists such as Total or Bayer, according to Atos CEO Elie Girard.

Atos is also preparing for 2023 a “Quantum accelerator”, a machine that will combine a classic high performance server with a quantum machine and will be able to radically speed up certain tasks. To this end, Atos is working with the French startup Pasqal, which develops quantum processors with neutral ions, and with the Finnish startup IQM.