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Hard Drives vs. Hard Drugs

How an engineer is making computer models to tackle addiction

3 min read

What’s a nice boy from MIT know about narcotics?

During his doctoral student days at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jonathan Caulkins’s professors told him that mathematical modeling methods used in operations research could solve any problem. So he whittled humanity’s 10 biggest challenges down to the one that was both quantifiable and not yet addressed by engineers: drug addiction. He then spent a summer rolling with the police in Hartford, Conn., so he could meet the city’s drug dealers in person and grill them about their business.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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