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Power Problems Threaten to Strangle Exascale Computing

Three possible solutions: specialized architectures, millivolt switches, and 3-D memory

4 min read
Power Problems Threaten to Strangle Exascale Computing
Stacks Up Nicely: A 3-D memory stack from Tezzaron Semiconductor boosts speed and reduces power draw.
Photo: Tezzaron Semiconductor

/img/quantumNewV2-1451401939930.jpgExascale Trade-offs The road to an exaflops supercomputer won’t be smooth. The millivolt switch, for example, would dramatically reduce power draw. But how to make one, and when it would be ready, is anybody’s guess.

For most of the decade, experts inhigh-performance computing have had their sights set on exascale computers—supercomputers capable of performing 1 million trillion floating-point operations per second, or 1 exaflops. And we’re now at the point where one could be built, experts say, but at ridiculous cost.

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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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