Google developers are confident they can build a commercial-grade quantum computer by 2029. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the plan during today's I/O stream, and in a blog post, quantum AI lead engineer Erik Lucero further outlined the company's goal to "build a useful, error-corrected quantum computer" within the decade.
Executives also revealed Google's new campus in Santa Barbara, California, which is dedicated to quantum AI. The campus has Google's first quantum data center, hardware research laboratories, and the company's very own quantum processor chip fabrication facilities.
The main benefits of quantum computing come in terms of processing power, scale and accuracy, allowing researchers to run complex computations incredibly quickly. Experts predict quantum computing will help drive breakthroughs in a number of industries, including healthcare, economics, encryption, artificial intelligence, sustainability and energy.
"As we look 10 years into the future, many of the greatest global challenges, from climate change to handling the next pandemic, demand a new kind of computing," Lucero said. "To build better batteries (to lighten the load on the power grid), or to create fertilizer to feed the world without creating 2 percent of global carbon emissions (as nitrogen fixation does today), or to create more targeted medicines (to stop the next pandemic before it starts), we need to understand and design molecules better. That means simulating nature accurately. But you can’t simulate molecules very well using classical computers."
Google isn't alone in the race for quantum computing: IBM is installing its first commercial quantum computer at the Cleveland Clinic this year, as part of a decade-long partnership to drive discoveries in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.