Nikkei has learned that a group of Japanese companies, including Tokyo-Toyota, have started using IBM quantum computers and are looking for new ways to apply next-generation computers for industrial purposes.
Toyota, Mitsubishi Chemical and 10 other companies plan to jointly use quantum computers for commercial purposes. One possibility is to use the system to develop new materials.
IBM will set up a unit at the Kawasaki Business Incubation Center (KBIC) in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo. The system, scheduled for entry into service at the end of July, is based on the âdoor modelâ and is very versatile and has many possible uses.
Outside of the United States, Japan is the second largest site for IBM quantum computers after Germany.
This system will be used by the Japan Quantum Innovation Initiative Consortium, led by the University of Tokyo. Last year, a consortium was formed which included Toyota, Hitachi, Toshiba and the Sony Group with the aim of accelerating national research and development using quantum computing.
Installing a quantum computer typically costs billions of dollars and tens of millions of dollars. The members of the consortium share the installation costs.
The consortium aims to verify the functionality of quantum computers and to accumulate expertise on how to use them differently from conventional computers.
IBM aims to work with Japanese companies to advance quantum computing and develop practical applications for its machines.
One of the potential applications is the chemical industry, which wants to use computer simulation to create innovative materials. Mitsubishi Chemical plans to use computers to develop better light emitting diodes and solar cells. We also plan to use the IBM unit to develop a lithium-air battery that has the potential to store several times more energy than lithium-ion batteries currently used in smartphones and electric vehicles.
Quantum computers are also excellent at finding puzzle solutions in a large number of potential combinations.
Toyota is using computers to analyze big data from previous car trips in preparation for the transition to autonomous driving. It can be used to guide the vehicle along a specific route to avoid traffic jams.
In the United States, quantum computing is actively used in the financial sector. Goldman Sachs said in April that it plans to introduce algorithms that can speed up risk assessment and pricing of financial instruments, perhaps within five years.
Today, high-speed computers are generally considered supercomputers, but quantum computers are still in their infancy. Some analysts say that when it comes to real-world applications, it takes 3 to 5 years for quantum computers to start performing better than supercomputers, and up to 10 to 20 years for such applications to be. completed. say.
But in the end, quantum computers should be able to perform near-instantaneous calculations that can take hundreds of millions of years, even the fastest supercomputers. By taking advantage of this blazing speed, Japanese companies can gain an R&D advantage and improve Japan’s industrial competitiveness.
As quantum computers evolve, they can also be used to crack the code behind Internet communications, which will have a significant impact on national security.