|The weigh in: a) the IBM Quantum Experience processor consisting of five superconducting qubits and b) Chris Monroe's five qubit ion trap. Qubit connectivity is depicted in the insets. [N.M. Linke et al, arXiv:1702.01852]|
Ion traps have been the forerunners of quantum computing since the very first experiments in the field, while superconducting circuits, who entered the race quite feebly, have vastly improved in the 20 years since their realization. Now roughly on equal footing, and with most large companies aiming for commercialization of quantum computers favoring the superconducting style, it seems ion trap groups are sweating a bit. And in order to corner the systems engineering required to build a useful quantum computer, an ion trap group is already proposing building one the size of a football [they're British, so they probably mean soccer] pitch [British for 'field']. While this contest resulted in a tie, it seems pretty clear who's on defense.