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Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc unveiled its first quantum computer on Thursday and is poised to make it available to outside users, joining a global race to put the technology to practical use.
The quantum computer developed by Baidu, called “Qianshi”, has a 10-quantum bit (qubit) processor, Baidu said in a statement. The Beijing-based company has also developed a 36-qubit quantum chip.
For years, governments and companies around the world have been touting the potential of quantum computing, a form of high-speed computing at extremely low temperatures that will push computers to unprecedented processing speeds.
However, current real-world applications in this area are still very basic and limited to a small group of early clients.
The United States, China and the European Union have launched massively funded quantum computing projects in hopes of making progress in the field, which is often seen as one of the cornerstones on which new global dominance will be determined.
Global governments and companies will invest around $16.4 billion in quantum development by the end of 2027, according to IDC market research.
US technology giant IBM has said it plans to produce a commercial-ready quantum computer in 2025 with more than 4,000 qubit processors. So far, IBM has released quantum processors with 127 qubits.
Alphabet Inc’s Google is also aiming to develop a 1,000,000-qubit computer by the end of this decade.