IBM announces what it describes as two "critical advances" in the creation of a practical quantum computer-- a means to simultaneously detect and measure two kinds of quantum errors and a square quantum bit design.
Work on quantum computers has been going at IBM since 1981, following the first workshop on the "physics of information" by Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman. IBM believes Moore's Law will soon run out of steam, and as such only quantum computing can open further innovation across the industry.
Quantum computers are based on qubits, the quantum equivalent of regular bits. Qubits can simultaneously exist as both 0 and 1, in what is known as a "superposition state." This should allow for the crunching of calculations far too complex for current hardware-- so much so Big Blue claims a quantum computer built using just 50 qubits can outperform any supercomputer on the TOP500 list.