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IBM announces 20-qubit quantum cloud computer for public use

11 Noviembre 2017

Our goal with both the IBM Q experience, and our commercial program is to collaborate with our extended community of partners to accelerate the path to demonstrating a quantum advantage for solving real problems that matter. Meanwhile, it has also built and measured an operational prototype 50 qubit processor, which will feature in the next generation of IBM Q systems.

"We at Volkswagen want to be among the first to use quantum computing for corporate processes as soon as this technology is commercially available".

Whereas normal computers store information as either a 1 or a 0, quantum computers exploit two phenomena-entanglement and superposition-to process information differently. The system IBM has developed is still extremely finicky and challenging to use, as are those being built by others. It basically means that you only have a brief window of time before the qubits revert to a classical computing state of zeroes and ones. That may seem short - because it is - but it's already a record feat in this growing industry, where one of the biggest challenges is sustaining the life of qubits.

"We are really proud of this, it's a big frickin' deal", IBM AI and quantum computer director Dario Gil told MIT Technology Review.

IBM has a storied history in quantum computing. Specialists from Volkswagen Information Technology Centers (IT labs) in San Francisco and Munich together with the Google experts are expected to develop algorithms, simulations and optimizations.

The technology company's rapid progress in the field is quite impressive.

Image: Volkswagen and Google to quantum computing for practical use. IBM Q, which was announced in March, is a followup to that effort.

Clients will have online access to the computing power of the first IBM Q systems by the end of 2017, with a series of planned upgrades during 2018. However, the 50-qubit version moves beyond that.

IBM is also announcing an upgrade to its quantum cloud software system today. IBM has made significant strides tackling problems on small scale universal quantum computing systems. "In prior years, the course was interesting theoretically, but felt like it described some far off future", said Andrew Houck, professor of electrical engineering, Princeton University. This creates all kinds of new programming possibilities and requires new software and systems to build programs that can work with this way of computing. As well, IBM has industrial partners exploring practical quantum applications through the IBM Research Frontiers Institute, a consortium that develops and shares a portfolio of ground-breaking computing technologies and evaluates their business implications.

IBM, a once-juggernaut in the computing industry, plans to further detail its advances in the space at an IEEE conference taking place today.

IBM announces 20-qubit quantum cloud computer for public use