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Another Round of Computational Advances P1572 November 2020

Author: Sean R. Barulich (Send us feedback.)

Another round of advances in computational privacy, hardware, and novel technologies is emerging.

Abstracts in this Pattern:

Honeywell International (Charlotte, North Carolina) claims that it has developed the most powerful quantum computer in the world. Quantum volume is a measure of quantum-computing performance that incorporates qubit count, error rates, and qubit connectivity, and Honeywell's system has a quantum volume of 64. This quantum volume is significantly greater than that of IBM's (Armonk, New York) 52-qubit machine, which has a quantum volume of 32. Notably, Honeywell claims that it will be able to improve the quantum volume of its system by a factor of ten each year during the next few years and is already letting industry partners such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (New York, New York) use the quantum computer through a cloud service.

Other companies are developing computing technologies to enable secure and private computation. For example, IBM recently completed field trials of its technology for fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). FHE protects data during transmission, under computation, and in storage and allows users to perform mathematical and logical operations on combinations of encrypted data and unencrypted data. Although this progress by IBM enables a promising step forward, FHE requires substantial increases in computational power and memory. For example, IBM's tests revealed that FHE-encrypted machine-learning models require 40 to 50 times the computational power and 10 to 20 times the memory of unencrypted models to perform the same tasks.

Emerging research also demonstrates the potential for new computational materials that may inspire new computing architectures or programmable materials. For example, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, California); Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Bochum, Germany); and other institutions recently demonstrated that atom-probe-tomography methods can see use to read spatial arrangements of metal ions in metal-organic frameworks, enabling the possibility of encoding and reading information. Companies and researchers continue to face challenges in computing innovation; however, new computing technologies continue to emerge, and industry players are steadily working toward commercialization.