And Now It’s Time For Quantum Computing Definitions

Published by whurley (08/23/2017)

The IEEE P7130™—Standard for Quantum Computing Definitions project

Today I am pleased (aren’t I always?) to announce that the IEEE Standards Association approved my project for standardizing quantum computing definitions. The news just hit the wire:

The IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), today announced the approval of the IEEE P7130™—Standard for Quantum Computing Definitions project.

What’s that? How can we have a standard when we don’t have mass adoption of quantum computers, you ask?

Great question. This nomenclature standard will create a common language for the field. Developers, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, and potential customers will use this language to collaborate and innovate. We’re inching closer to the beginnings of an industry.

I believe quantum computing is poised for significant growth and advancement.  But the fragmented nascent industry lacks a common communications framework. So I’m thrilled to lead this effort as the chair of the newly approved Quantum Computing Standards Workgroup. By building consensus on a nomenclature, we will reap the benefits of standardization, reduce confusion, and foster understanding for all stakeholders.  We’re helping to establish the foundation for the quantum computing industry.

This project wouldn’t be possible without the support and participation of IBM, 1Qbit, and Professor Hidetoshi Nishimori of the Tokyo Institute of Technology. (He’s my favorite.) Each of these amazing organizations shared their view in the release.


Jerry Chow (Manager of Experimental Quantum Computing, IBM Research):

“IBM is part of quantum information’s history, since its foundation more than 30 years ago. And we’ve been championing important terms, metrics, and scientific methods ever since. This standards project will help anyone from students to seasoned quantum scientists nucleate around a common language, while keeping up with the field’s rapid pace of change, and further accelerate pioneering experiments and explorations in quantum computing.”

Andrew Fursman (CEO 1Qbit):

“1QBit works with a variety of classical, quantum and otherwise non-standard processors, which necessitates communication between multiple external teams, across a wide range of industries, discussing many different types of computing systems. IEEE P7130 . . . provides a valuable service to 1QBit . . . and the many industries with which we intersect.”

Professor Hidetoshi Nishimori (Tokyo Institute of Technology):

“Confusions exist on what quantum computing or a quantum computer means. This partly originates in the existence of a few different models of quantum computing. It is urgently necessary to define each key word.”

If you’re interested in learning more about this effort, it’s officially called“IEEE P7130,” and the details have been published on the Quantum Computing Working Group’s landing page.