Quantum computers were first proposed by the famed Nobel Prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman, in 1981.
Experts see quantum computing as a major disruption to computing. According to Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, whose university just signed a 5-year quantum collaboration agreement with Microsoft, quantum computing is “another explosion of computing power like that brought about by the silicon chip.”
D-Wave, a Canadian company, began selling quantum computers a few years ago. Price points to make quantum computers commercially viable are still a little ways away. But a fierce race is already underway for quantum supremacy and scientists are making great progress.
A short list of some of the companies involved with quantum computing (most big players are all in) include Microsoft, IBM-Q (quantum computing as-a-service), 1Qbit, Rigetti Computing, Intel, AT&T (working on quantum networking with CALTECH) etc. The NSA is said to be building its own quantum devices, and In-Q-Tel, the venture company funded by the CIA, is also in on the game.
Google is looking to get to a 49-qubit processor by the end of 2017, a landmark breakthrough that would double current 20-qubit processors. Softbank’s $ 100 billion Vision Fund is actively searching to back the next “Microsoft” of quantum computing. Most experts agree that building quantum computers is now an engineering challenge and not a conceptual one.