IBM is taking quantum computing out of the lab

Building the IBM Q System One.                  IBM

"The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialisation of quantum computing", said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud and director of IBM Research. Potential real-world applications of quantum computing can be used to revolutionize the fields of medicine, artificial intelligence, financial markets and online security. At this lab, clients can use IBM's cloud-based quantum computing systems, as well as other high performance computing systems.

IBM says that the "world first" 20-qubit system is created to assist commercial and scientific organisations harness the power of quantum computing, highlighting examples such as financial data modelling or optimising global logistics operations.

IBM is now looking to make quantum computers commercially available. The IT giant also sees future where it will be selling such systems in the form of renting access to the hardware over the internet instead of shipping the quantum computer itself.

Later this year, IBM will also open its first IBM Q Quantum Computation Center for commercial customers in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Advances in quantum computing could provide ExxonMobil with the ability to address computationally challenging problems across a variety of applications, including the potential to optimize a country's power grid, and perform more predictive environmental modeling and highly accurate quantum chemistry calculations to discover new materials for more efficient carbon capture, the company said. "Much of the success in our own ingenuity is facilitated by the innovation of others outside our industry, from three-dimensional printing to quantum computing".

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If you want to buy yourself a quantum computer, you'll have to work with IBM, though.

IBM isn't the only company that's been working on quantum computing, as the technology is still far from ready for mass deployment. IBM has, therefore, consolidated all the components of the Q System One into a glass-enclosed, air-tight environment.

It also has classical computation to provide secure cloud access and hybrid execution of quantum algorithms, according to IBM.

While IBM describes it as the first fully integrated universal quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use, it's worth stressing that a 20-qubit machine is nowhere near powerful enough for most of the commercial applications that people envision for a quantum computer with more qubits - and qubits that are useful for more than 100 microseconds.

For so long, the quantum computer was merely a fantasy but the race to build the world's first quantum computer gave scientists the motivation build the most powerful and advanced computer that puts even the best ones to shame.

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