IBM just unveiled a 'quantum computing system' for commercial use

IBM just unveiled a 'quantum computing system' for commercial use

"The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing", swooned Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud and director of IBM Research.

Quantum computers have the potential to perform seemingly-impossible computing tasks, but they're still in their very early stages.

IBM has progressed with its quantum computing initiative Q enough to produce a system capable of running outside a research lab, opening possibilities to rent access to it.

The computer itself is in a nine-by-nine glass cube that maintains it at the exactly correct temperature and other conditions it needs to do its work - a kind of fragility that means that you can't just order one and have it sent; customers will access it via the IBM Cloud.

At CES, IBM today announced its first commercial quantum computer for use outside of the lab. IBM said the Q System One makes it possible to reset qubits in a matter of hours, instead of the days or weeks it normally takes. Namely, that it now has a "quantum computing system" ready for commercial use.

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"These organizations will work directly with IBM scientists, engineers and consultants to explore quantum computing for specific industries". In a move that harkens back to Cray's supercomputers with its expensive couches, IBM worked with design studios Map Project Office and Universal Design Studio, as well Goppion, the company that has built, among other things, the display cases that house the U.K.'s crown jewels and the Mona Lisa.

ExxonMobil will become the first energy company to join the IBM Q Network. This is a historical step in the field of quantum computing, considering the fact that quantum computers haven't left the confines of a research lab. The company now works with about 80 universities in the United States, Europe and Asia to explore next-generation energy technologies.

The new IBM Q System One platform is its first integrated universal quantum computing platform and its "most advanced ever", meaning the technology is finally able to break free from the laboratory to help a wider range of organisations than ever before. Like, for example, that the Q System One uses a fourth-generation 20-qubit processor, and that a "50-qubit device will be available to the IBM Q Network later this year".

IBM is locked in a race with Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Microsoft Corp. and others in building machines that businesses can use to solve hard real-world problems now beyond the reach of the most powerful conventional supercomputers.

IBM has banked on quantum as one of its core future technologies, first opening up client access through the cloud past year.

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