Today’s announcement includes both a 20 qubit processor ready for use by its IBM Q clients and an operational 50 qubit prototype currently in development.

“If you look back 18 months ago, we started with 5 qubits online,” Jerry Chow, Manager of Experimental Quantum Computing team at IBM told Gizmodo.

“We’re really going hard at it.”

A quantum computer is a completely different kind of computer.

A user initializes these qubits, which is sort of like setting the weights on a weighted die, and then lets them interact via the mathematical rules of quantum mechanics.

There are certain tasks, like factoring numbers and modeling molecules, where a quantum computer would be much faster than a regular computer.

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