IBM announces testing phase of 50 qubit computer
As companies race against each other to launch the first commercially available quantum computer in the market, IBM has announced the testing phase of a 50 qubit computer. This number is especially important because not only in the largest one to be announced, it is also the first to actually put forward the possibility for quantum computers to be able to perform tasks that traditional computers cannot. IBM announced this prototype testing phase on Nov. 10.
Quantum computers use a principle called quantum superposition that allows the quantum bits or qubits to have states that are in-between the traditional binary of 1 or 0. This means that they can perform certain tasks better, but also means that they are more finicky and unpredictable, which makes it harder to have a greater number of processors.
Google is currently testing a 22 qubit computer, and is in the process of designing a larger one. IBM is also testing a 17 qubit one that it hopes to make commercially available by the end of 2017.
Source: Science News
U.S. is only country to not sign Paris Climate Agreement
Syria officially signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement on Nov. 7. This comes after Nicaragua’s announcement to sign the accord in October. The U.S. is now the only country to not have signed the official agreement. Trump announced in a rose garden speech that the deal was bad for America’s economy and that he would quit the deal.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement, struck in 2015 brings together 200 countries in a pact to reduce their carbon footprint and green house gas emissions. Specifically, the agreement’s goal is for its members to take steps to ensure that this century’s average global temperatures rise by no more than 2 degrees Celsius. It is one of the first such agreements of its kind.
Under the official rules of the agreement, the US can’t withdraw until 2020, but then, U.S. officials haven’t really stated what parts of the agreement could be renegotiated. This means that it would be easy for a president elected in 2020 to cancel the withdrawal.
Source: The New York Times
SpaceX engine explodes during qualification test
Earlier this week, one of SpaceX’s rocket engines exploded while qualification testing in the company’s testing facility located in McGregor, TX.
The company confirmed this on Wednesday and is currently investigating the causes of this unfortunate event. This engine was intended to be used for a 2018 testing of a Falcon 9. No one was injured during this test.
This explosion comes after another one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets exploded on a launching pad as it was being fueled before an engine test fire in September 2016. Another explosion occurred in 2015, when another Falcon 9 exploded while taking off en-route from Cape Canaveral to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. No people were hurt in both situations.
This failure comes after a very successful year for SapceX. They have doubled the number of launches per year, with 16 successful launches this year alone.
Source: The Washington Post