We see and hear the question asked often…how close are we to a true quantum computer? The question is difficult to answer. The Qubit Report has seen anywhere from 3 years to 10 years and some predictions out to 20 years. (Naysayers say ‘never’, of course). There are many reasons precluding this complicated technology from coming to fruition right-away. Noise, electrical flux, maturity of qubit hardware, lack of quantum algorithms, and funding to name several. This piece in Scientific American does a fine job of looking at the “When, really?” question explaining these challenges and many others.
The above image is that of an ion trap used by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology circa 2010. The ion trap is one piece of the complex hardware comprising quantum computers.