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THINKING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

Quantum computing used to be an exclusive and expensive tool for the academic elite. IBM plans to change that

COMPUTING

CONSIDER THREE hair-pulling problems: 1 percent of the world’s energy is used every year just to produce fertilizer; solar panels aren’t powerful enough to provide all the power for most homes; investing in stocks can feel like Russian roulette.

Those seemingly disparate issues can be solved by the same tool, according to some scientists: quantum computing. Quantum computers use superconducting particles to perform tasks and have long been seen as a luxury for the top academic echelon—far removed from the common individual. But that’s quickly changing.

IBM had been dabbling with commercial possibilities when last year it released Quantum Experience, a cloud-based quantum computing service researchers could use to run experiments without having to buy a quantum system. In early March, IBM took that program further and announced IBM Q, the first cloud quantum computing system for commercial use. Companies will be able to buy time on IBM’s quantum computers in New York state, though IBM has not set a release date or price, and it is expected to be financially prohibitive for smaller companies at first.

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SPLITTING HEADACHE: IS FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY FIR TO TAKE ON TRUMP Many say FBI Director James Comey torpedoed the presidential aspirations of Hillary Clinton, and he may soon do the same for Donald Trump. As the bureau’s investigation of Russian interference in the election and the possible collusion of Trump’s camp builds toward a confrontation, America needs to know if their top G-man is a righteous warrior or a self-righteous prig.
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