Japan’s 1st Quantum Computer Begins Operations

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yasunobu Nakamura, director of the Riken Center for Quantum Computing, stands next to Japan’s first quantum computer at the Riken research institute in Wako, Saitama Prefecture, on Monday.

Japan’s first quantum computer began operating Monday at the Riken research institute in Wako, Saitama Prefecture.

Quantum computers have the potential to outstrip existing supercomputers, prompting countries around the world to develop this next-generation technology. The United States is among the nations that have taken lead in creating experimental quantum computers, but Japan aims to stay ahead of the competition by concentrating on the practical use of such computers.

Japan’s first domestically produced model was developed by Riken and other entities, including Osaka University, Fujitsu Ltd. and NTT Corp., while the government has contributed a total of about ¥2.5 billion from fiscal 2018.

The computer uses quantum bits, or qubits, which enable calculations to be carried out at significantly faster speeds than supercomputers.

The computer became accessible via a cloud server Monday morning for universities and research institutes that conduct joint research with Riken.

“We hope the computer will provide opportunities to improve and expand the environment in which it can continuously be used, while widening the scope of quantum computing,” said Riken Center for Quantum Computing Director Yasunobu Nakamura at a press conference on the day.

Riken intends to gradually grant wider access to the quantum computer and hopes its use will lead to the development of technology for equipment and software, as well as the cultivation of human resources in the field.