Global technology and innovation company IBM made a major announcement recently. The company announced that it has taken a major step in making universal quantum computers available commercially.
IBM Q, which is an industry-first initiative by IBM to build commercially available universal quantum computers for business and science, will soon be offering the power of quantum computation via the IBM Cloud platform. The project can prove to be a major step for the future of the field.
While quantum hardware has already been made available by several companies, but unfortunately it has been limited in the kinds of computation it is capable of achieving. IBM Q is the first time that a universal quantum computer is being made available to the public.
A universal quantum computer is a computer with the capability of solving problems that might prove to be too large for a conventional system to handle. IBM Q will come equipped with a number of innovative applications that would go way beyond than what is achievable with the present day technology.
While technologies like AI can find patterns buried in vast amounts of existing data, quantum computers can deliver solutions to important problems where patterns cannot be seen and the number of possibilities that you need to explore to get to the answer are too enormous ever to be processed by classical computers.
IBM’s plan is to make universal quantum computing systems available to a selected few industry partners over the period of coming years. It hopes to keep alleviating the capabilities of the hardware with time.
The main goal here is to give birth to a system with roughly 50 quantum bits (the Quantum Experience initially started with 5 and now simulates 20) within the next few years. Though on the surface, it might not sound much but these 50 qubits could prove to be much more powerful than the best supercomputers when working calculations—tasks that seemed very impractical before would suddenly become doable. The system should be successfully be able to demonstrate the benefits of quantum computing over traditional methods.
The global technology giant is looking forward to joining hands with other companies and organisations to develop applications that are successfully able to harness the power that the new hardware offers.
In addition to the project, IBM, over the last couple of years, has been continuously working towards making improvements to other several areas of its quantum ecosystem. Last year saw the giant launching the IBM Quantum Experience, which provides online access to a 5 qubit quantum computer. Since its launch, it has been by thousands of users to carry out hundreds of thousands of experiments.
The newly released API significantly simplifies the process of building an interface between the 5 qubit quantum computer that’s present at the heart of the IBM Quantum Experience, and traditional computers. The online platform has also been outfitted with a new simulator that has the capability to model circuits with up to 20 qubits. The first half of the year will witness the technology giant releasing an SDK that will provide a helping hand to users in building simple applications and software programs to be used with the Quantum Experience.
While it can be clearly seen that IBM is really committed to make quantum computers available to all. Though from the looks of it, IBM Q might seem to be a long-term, far-fetching project, but it is surely going to significantly contribute towards fostering the next wave of advancement in the field.