Quantum computing is entering an exciting new phase. **After years of research and development, applications of quantum computers are starting to emerge**. But just how widespread is quantum computing at this point? **How many active quantum computers exist today and who is making them?**

## Defining a Quantum Computer

**To determine how many quantum computers exist, we first need to define what constitutes one**. A true quantum computer must utilize the power of quantum mechanics to provide computational capabilities not possible with classical computers. **Some key requirements:**

### Using Qubits

- Stores information in
**qubits**(quantum bits) which leverage quantum effects like**superposition**and**entanglement**. This allows a qubit to represent a 1, a 0, or any quantum superposition of those two states simultaneously.

### Quantum Manipulation

- Can
**initialize, manipulate, and read out the state of a qubit**to perform quantum logical operations.

### True Coherent Quantum Behavior

- Large enough number of qubits exhibiting
**true coherent quantum behavior**, allowing quantum parallelism. This enables exponentially faster computation compared to classical computers.

## Publicly Known Quantum Computers in 2024

Given those criteria, **how many advanced quantum computer systems currently exist worldwide?** Here is an overview of publicly known quantum computers from major providers:

Company | Most Advanced System | Qubits |
---|---|---|

IBM | Osprey | 433 |

Google | Sycamore | 72 |

ionQ | ionQ Aria | 32 |

Rigetti | Rigetti Aspen-11 | 16 |

D-Wave | Advantage | >5000 |

As we can see, numbers of qubits in advanced systems range from **16 to over 5000**, with IBM holding the public record for most qubits in a universal quantum computer. However, raw qubit count alone does not determine computational power. The quality and coherence time of qubits also plays a major role. Given variations in quantum technologies, directly comparing systems is not straightforward.

## Types of Quantum Computers

It’s important to note there are **different types of quantum computing approaches**, each with their own strengths.

### Universal Gate Quantum Computers

Most systems above feature **universal gate quantum computers**. These leverage superposition and entanglement to run quantum algorithms. Potential for very fast, general-purpose quantum computation.

### Annealing Quantum Computers

**D-Wave systems are annealing quantum computers** specialized for optimization problems. More limited in application but can solve certain combinatorial problems faster than classical systems. Given architectural differences, D-Wave’s 5000+ qubits are not directly comparable to the universal gate model quantum computers from IBM, Google, Rigetti and others.

## Quantum Computers in the Cloud

Beyond systems operated by hardware providers, **multiple quantum computers now exist in the cloud** on subscription platforms. These enable more developers and organizations to access real quantum systems:

### IBM Quantum Network

IBM offers cloud access to its most advanced quantum devices and simulators through the **IBM Quantum Network** spanning data centers across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. The 20+ systems on IBMQ include both IBM built quantum hardware as well as partner contributed systems.

### Amazon Braket

**Amazon Braket** provides cloud based access to quantum computers from Rigetti, ionQ, and D-Wave alongside simulators on Amazon Web Services infrastructure. Available in AWS regions in the USA, Europe, and Asia Pacific. There are also smaller initiatives making real quantum computers available in the cloud by providers like **ApexQ** and **Rahko**.

So end users can utilize **dozens of quantum systems in the cloud**, on top of dedicated hardware operated by internal R&D teams. The total number of actively used quantum processors worldwide likely numbers over 100 in 2024 and is rapidly increasing.

## An Estimated 100 – 250 Quantum Computers in 2024

Given all these known quantum computer systems operated by hardware companies, cloud platform providers, and internal R&D efforts, a reasonable **estimate for total actively used quantum computing systems worldwide in 2024 is between 100 to 250**.

Within a few years, this number could grow into the thousands. By the end of the decade, Gartner forecasts ~**4000+ commercially viable quantum systems** deployed worldwide. As hardware quality improves, error correction techniques advance, and new algorithms are developed, we will continue seeing exponential growth in quantum computing power over the next 10 years ushering in the **NISQ** (Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum) era on the pathway to practical quantum advantage.

## Leaders in Quantum Computing Development

While the exact number is hard to pin down given rapid innovation from both established companies and stealthy startups, some current leaders driving quantum computer development include:

### IBM

Pioneers in superconducting qubit quantum computing with deepest roadmaps for commercialization. Most advanced systems with highest qubit counts and leading ecosystem.

Early achiever in quantum supremacy milestone and advancing the state of qubit quality with goals of commercializing quantum computing this decade.

### Amazon

Major force through both internal development at Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab and enabling quantum access via Braket cloud services.

### Microsoft

Significant investments in qubit R&D paired with developer tools through Azure Quantum platform spanning simulators to hardware access. There are also notable quantum computing initiatives from other corporate players like **Honeywell Quantum Solutions**, startups pushing new qubit modalities like **PsiQuantum**, and national quantum technology programs being spearheaded by governments worldwide.

## Accelerating Pace of Progress

Given the accelerating pace of progress as outlined above, the quantum computing landscape is evolving extremely rapidly. **New developments in quantum hardware, software, and cloud services are being announced almost weekly.**

The QC industry saw record over $1 billion in VC funding last year. Multiple forecasts predict **quantum computing will be a $65B+ industry by 2030**. Government initiatives like the **US National Quantum Initiative Act** are unlocking over **$1.2 billion in federal funding towards quantum R&D** this decade. All these factors will drive the rapid growth in adoption of quantum computing both the number of quantum systems coming online and QC powered use cases over the next 5+ years.

## Conclusion

In summary, current **estimates put the number of actively used quantum computers worldwide around 100-250 in the year 2024**, up from just a dozen systems a few years ago. Driven by investments from tech giants, startups commercializing new qubit modalities, and national quantum initiatives we are seeing an exponential rise in QC availability.

As hardware quality improves to hit performance milestones related to qubit count, coherence times, and error correction needed to deliver demonstrable business value, we will witness mainstream quantum advantage this decade. **Growth projections predict 4000+ quantum computers commercially deployed worldwide within the next 5 years.** The future is exceedingly bright for quantum computing to transform everything from drug discovery to climate modeling to machine learning in the coming years.

### FAQs

**What company currently makes the quantum computer with the highest qubit count?**

Based on publicly known information, IBM holds the current record for most qubits in a universal gate quantum computer with their 433 qubit Osprey system, announced in late 2022.

**How close are quantum computers to widespread use?**

While still in early developmental stages, exponential progress is being made. We could realistically see adoption beyond research use cases by the mid to late 2020s. Significant leaps in hardware must first overcome existing limits on qubit count, error rates, coherence times and stability.

**What industries will first benefit from quantum computing?**

Sectors like healthcare, energy and finance are emerging early adopters applying QC’s optimization, simulation and ML strengths to everything from drug discovery to battery design and risk modeling.

**When will quantum computers surpass classical systems?**

This milestone is known as “quantum advantage” or “quantum supremacy“. While least case benchmarks have been demonstrated in lab settings, practically useful applications likely achievable in the 2030s time frame as hardware matures.

**How difficult is it to program quantum computers?**

Quantum programming poses steep learning curves mastering counter intuitive quantum principles and new languages like Qiskit, Cirq and more. Improved abstractions, frameworks and cloud services aim to open QC access to more software developers this decade.

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