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ExxonMobil teams up with IBM to apply quantum computing to energy sector

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ExxonMobil has formally announced that it has entered into a partnership deal with IBM to look into applying quantum computing in future manufacturing and energy technologies.

A quantum computer differs from a traditional computer in that rather than processing binary digits (or bits), which can be either 0 or 1, it works with quantum bits (or qubits), which can exist in a supposition of both states simultaneously – something fundamental to quantum physics.

ExxonMobil, the energy giant behind Mobil distributors, is the first energy firm to become part of the IBM Q Network, which already includes a number of well-known Fortune 500 companies, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Accenture and Daimler, as well as many prominent universities around the world. It believes the resulting technology could trigger innovations in climate change modelling, electric grid optimization, and petrochemicals.

A vice president of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Vijay Swarup, said in a press release that some of the challenges ExxonMobil encounters go beyond the capabilities of traditional computers, pointing out that quantum computing may provide them with an unprecedented ability to simulate chemistry and nature.

He said about the partnership with IBM:

“As we continue our own research and development efforts in the areas of energy and chemical manufacturing, our agreement with IBM will allow us to expand our knowledge base and potentially apply new solutions in computing to further advance those efforts.”

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