IBM has announced a milestone in its race against Google and other big tech firms to build a powerful quantum computer.

Dario Gil, who leads IBM’s quantum computing and artificial intelligence research division, said Friday that the company’s scientists have successfully built and measured a processor prototype with 50 quantum bits, known as qubits.

Gil says it’s the first time any company has built a quantum computer at this scale.

Quantum computing, a technology that’s still in its early phases, uses the quirks of quantum physics to perform calculations at far higher speeds than current computers.

‘Quantum computing promises to be able to solve certain problems – such as chemical simulations and types of optimization – that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines,’ IBM said.

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