Friday, 18 January, 2019

IBM is taking quantum computing out of the lab

IBM's Q System One quantum computer                  IBM IBM's Q System One quantum computer IBM
Sherri Watson | 10 January, 2019, 20:10

"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, in a press statement. "Quantum computing can potentially provide us with capabilities to simulate nature and chemistry that we've never had before".

Welser also said that Quantum Computing will start seeing a real-world impact in the next few years as scientists learn how to add and control qubits.

IBM has always been a front-runner when it comes to quantum computing; back in 2017, the firm showed off a prototype commercial 17-qubit processor that formed the core of the first IBM Q early-access systems, which saw the company laying out its ambitions to build commercially-available universal quantum computing systems.

Qubits are only useful for more than 100 microseconds, and while IBM's Q System One is not yet powerful enough at 20-qubits, it will be one of the first commercial ready quantum computers.

The integrated quantum computing system works very similar to the traditional computers.

At the same time, IBM also announced the opening of a commercial Q Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, New York later this year.

Other providers, such as D-Wave International, are offering specialized quantum computers that harness quantum annealing for optimization problems, from traffic optimization in China to election modeling. Also, the system is claimed to have a number of custom components that could open the avenue for modular quantum computers in the future.

ExxonMobil will become the first energy company to join the IBM Q Network. IBM, along with other big tech firms such as Google, Microsoft and Intel, is working toward a universal, scalable quantum computer, which will be capable of solving a lot of problems without needing specialization - moving technologists past the limits of current classical and supercomputers. So, it might not be that powerful and more optimizations would be on its way.

CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, will work with IBM to explore how quantum computing may be used to advance scientific understanding of the universe.

In an interview with Fortune, IBM vice-president of research, Jeffery Welser said that the Debater, "is capable of understanding how two identical sentences can convey different meanings depending on the context and anticipates a world where computers will better understand human interactions". The organizations that partner with IBM will get access to its quantum software and cloud-based quantum computing systems.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory will use quantum computers along with high-performance supercomputers to benchmark new methods for studying strongly correlated dynamics in quantum materials, chemistry, and nuclear physics.