IBM Unveils the World’s First Commercial Quantum Computer

IBM's Q System One quantum computer                  IBM

Now IBM will partner with commercial clients to give them access to this technology, which can allow businesses to model complicated data such as investments and risk.

"IBM is committed to leading the way on the technologies that change the way the world works - and solving problems many people have not even thought of yet", said Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO. Usually, quantum computers are carefully preserved in research labs, where various elements such as reinforced chambers, tanks of liquid helium, cryogenic equipment and hundreds of yards of cabling, the Financial Times reported.

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.

Computers today store data in binary, as either zeroes or ones - strings of ones and zeroes represent numbers or letters. Potential applications include optimizing a country's power grid, more predictive environmental and highly accurate quantum chemistry calculations to enable the discovery of new materials for more efficient carbon capture.

Designed by IBM scientists, systems engineers and industrial designers, IBM Q System One has a "sophisticated, modular and compact design optimised for stability, reliability and continuous commercial use".

Quantum computers promise to outperform regular machines at certain tasks by exploiting the unusual properties of quantum physics, and the IBM Q utilizes theories of physics to create computing techniques that are far more powerful than current devices. However, this relative fragility is why you won't be installing an IBM Q System One in your own office - while it's definitely a major step forward, it's a far ways away from being something you can order and have delivered.

The design includes a nine-foot-tall, nine-foot-wide glass case enclosure which is sealed and airtight.

It plans to house an undisclosed number of these systems at an IBM Q Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2019. The company now works with about 80 universities in the United States, Europe and Asia to explore next-generation energy technologies.

"IBM Q systems are created to one day tackle problems that are now seen as too complex and exponential in nature for classical systems to handle", notes the release.

"Protection from this interference is one of many reasons why quantum computers and their components require careful engineering and isolation". Intel, too has been working on making big bets on quantum computing chips.

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