IBM has Unveiled a Brand-New Quantum Computer

Thousands of miles away from the company’s quantum computation center in Poughkeepsie, New York, IBM is bringing quantum technologies out of Big Blue’s labs and directly to partners around the world. A Quantum System One, IBM‘s flagship integrated superconducting quantum computer, is now available on-premises in the Kawasaki Business Incubation Center in Kawasaki City, for Japanese researchers to run their quantum experiments in fields ranging from chemistry to finance.

Most customers to date can only access IBM‘s System One over the cloud, by connecting to the company’s quantum computation center in Poughkeepsie. Recently, the company unveiled the very first quantum computer that was physically built outside of the computation center’s data centers, when the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany acquired a System One. The system that has now been deployed to Japan is therefore IBM‘s second quantum computer that is located outside of the US.

The announcement comes as part of a long-standing relationship with Japanese organizations. In 2019, IBM and the University of Tokyo inaugurated the Japan-IBM Quantum Partnership, a national agreement inviting universities and businesses across the country to engage in quantum research. It was agreed then that a Quantum System One would eventually be installed at an IBM facility in Japan.

Building on the partnership, Big Blue and the University of Tokyo launched the Quantum Innovation Initiative Consortium last year to further bring together organizations working in the field of quantum. With this, the Japanese government has made it clear that it is keen to be at the forefront of the promising developments that quantum technologies are expected to bring about.

Leveraging some physical properties that are specific to quantum mechanics, quantum computers could one day be capable of carrying out calculations that are impossible to run on the devices that are used today, known as a classical computers.


AI Detects In Your Language Early Sign Of Alzheimer’s Disease

An artificial intelligence program analyzing language predicted whether people with no memory or thinking problems would develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life, researchers said. The study by IBM, funded by drug giant Pfizer, found a computerized model analyzing language patterns accurately predicted up to 74% of participants diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease later in lifeEarly detection of Alzheimer’s disease is crucial, as the memory-robbing disease  afflicts about 5.8 million Americans.

Many researchers are working to develop blood tests to detect Alzheimer’s before memory and thinking problems occur. Blood tests can potentially be more precise than memory and cognitive tests now used to diagnose the disease. The tests also could be a less expensive way to conduct clinical studies.

IBM officials say their study of language patterns show another possible tool for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Ajay Royyuru, IBM’s vice president of health care and life sciences research, said IBM‘s research efforts to track language shows the potential for a noninvasive test that “presents a better window for targeted interventions.”

The research analyzed more than 700 written samples from 270 participants in the decades-old Framingham Heart Study, which has collected detailed medical histories, physical exams and lab tests from thousands of participants. Participants were shown a cookie-theft picture and asked to write a description of the image. The samples were collected when participants showed no signs of memory loss. The datas predicted Alzheimer’s disease an average of 7.6 years before participants were diagnosed.

The findings are reported in the journal EClinicalMedicine.



New Powerful Quantum Computer

Honeywell, a company best known for making control systems for homes, businesses and planes, claims to have built the most powerful quantum computer ever. Other researchers are sceptical about its power, but for the company, it is a step towards integrating quantum computing into its everyday operationsHoneywell measured its computer’s capabilities using a metric invented by IBM called quantum volume. It takes into account the number of quantum bits – or qubits – the computer has, their error rate, how long the system can spend calculating before the qubits stop working and a few other key properties.

Measuring quantum volume involves running about 220 different algorithms on the computer”, says Tony Uttley, the president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions. Honeywell’s quantum computer has a volume of 64, twice as high as the next highest quantum volume to be recorded, which was measured in an IBM quantum computer.

Like other quantum computers, this one may eventually be useful for calculations that deal with huge amounts of data. “There are three classes of problems that we are focused on right now: optimization, machine learning, and chemistry and material science,” says Uttley. “We can do those problems shrunk down to a size that fits our quantum computer today and then, as we increase the quantum volume, we’ll be able to do those problems on bigger scales.” However, this quantum computer isn’t yet able to perform calculations that would give a classical computer trouble, a feat called quantum supremacy, which was first claimed by Google in October. “While it’s cool that the company that made my thermostat is now building quantum computers, claiming it’s the most powerful one isn’t really substantiated,” says Ciarán Gilligan-Lee at University College London.

“Google’s Sycamore quantum computer used 53 qubits to achieve quantum supremacy, while Honeywell’s machine only has six qubits so far. “We know that anything less than around 50 or 60 qubits can be simulated on a classical computer relatively easily,” says Gilligan-Lee. “A six-qubit quantum computer can probably be simulated by your laptop, and a supercomputer could definitely do it.” Having the highest quantum volume may mean that Honeywell’s qubits are remarkably accurate and can calculate for a long time, but it doesn’t necessarily make it the most powerful quantum computer out there, he says.

Scott Aaronson at the University of Texas at Austin  agrees. “Quantum volume is not the worst measure, but what I personally care about, much more than that or any other invented measure, is what you can actually do with the device that’s hard for a classical computer to simulate,” he says. “By the latter measure, the Honeywell device is not even close to the best out there.”


Deciphering Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, and one of the leading causes of death in women globally. Breast cancer is a disease where cells located in the breast grow out of control. Although a majority of breast cancers are discovered in women at the age of 50 years or older, the disease can affect anyone, including men and younger women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Last year there were 9.6 million deaths and 18.1 million new cases of breast cancer diagnosed globally according to the latest report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released in September 2018.

In 2019 alone, the U.S. National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be 268,600 new female breast cancer cases and 41,760 fatalities. Earlier this month, researchers based in Switzerland published in Cell their study in using applied artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning to create a comprehensive tumor and immune atlas of breast cancer ecosystems that lays the foundation for innovative precision medicine and immunotherapy.

The study was led by professor Bernd Bodenmiller, Ph.D. at the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Bodenmiller is a recipient of the 2019 Friedrich Miescher Award, Switzerland’s highest distinction for outstanding achievements in biochemistry. His team worked in collaboration with the Systems Biology Group at IBM Research in Zurich led by María Rodríguez Martínez, Ph.D. with the shared goal to produce a foundation for more targeted breast cancer treatment through precision medicine.


Supercomputer Finds Oil 10 Times Faster

Energy major Total said its new supercomputer – which has propelled it to a world ranking as the most powerful computer in the sector – will enable its geologists to find oil faster, cheaper and with a better success rate. The Pangea III computer build by IBM will help process complex seismic data in the search for hydrocarbons 10 times faster that before, Total said on Tuesday. The computing power of the Pangea III has been increased to 31.7 so-called ‘petaflops’ from 6.7 petaflops in 2016, and from 2.3 petaflops in 2013, Total said, adding that it was the equivalent of around 170,000 laptops combined. The computer ranks as number 1 among supercomputers in the oil and gas sector, and number 11 globally, according to the TOP500 table ( which ranks supercomputers twice a year. Total’s European peer Eni’s HPC4 supercomputer is ranked number 17 in the global top 500 list.

Oil and gas companies, along with other industrial groups, are increasingly relying on powerful computers to process complex data faster. This enables them to cut costs while boosting productivity and the success rate of projects. Total did not say how much it had invested in the new supercomputer. The company’s senior vice president for exploration, Kevin McLachlan, told Reuters that 80% of the Pangea III’s time would be dedicated to seismic imaging.

We can do things much faster,” he said. “We are developing advanced imaging algorithms to give us much better images of the sub-surface in these complex domains and Pangea III will let us do it 10 times faster than we could before.” Total said the new algorithms can process huge amounts of data more accurately, and at a higher resolution. It would also help to locate more reliably hydrocarbons below ground, which is useful in complex environments where it is exploring for oil trapped under salt, such as Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, Angola and the Eastern Mediterranean. McLachlan expected the increased computer power to affect Total’s success rate in exploration, because of the better imaging, and in oil well appraisals, development and drilling.

What used to take a week, now takes us a day to process,” he said, adding that tens of millions of dollars of savings would be made on the oil wells as a direct result of obtaining better images.