IBM Unveils 'World's First Commercial Quantum Computer'

Whilst quantum computing is still in its infancy and is Largely just a part of books and research papers, IBM in CES 2019 unveiled the Q System One that is touted to be the world’s first quantum computer for commercial use.

The new machine does not look as a mainframe computer. On the contrary, it comes from a contemporary, nine-foot-tall and nine-foot wide case of half-inch thick borosilicate glass which reminds us of the cylindrical design of the 2013 Mac Pro. The Armonk, New York-headquartered company has also announced its plans to open the very first IBM Q Quantum Computation Centre in Poughkeepsie later this year to provide a boost to its own quantum computing business. Notably, the IBM Q System One won’t be sold publicly to the masses. The business is, however, set to provide accessibility to the quantum computing platform to businesses partnering under the IBM Q Network.

The IBM Q System One is officially known as the”world’s first incorporated universal approximate quantum computing platform created for scientific and commercial use”. The machine has been designed by a group of industrial designers, architects, and manufacturers alongside IBM Research scientists and network engineers. Especially, Google back in 2017 was believed to have given early access to its own quantum machines to science labs and artificial intelligence researchers.

Quantum computing is about quantum bits, or qubits, and for processing each and every qubit, the machine needs an undistracted environment. IBM has, therefore, consolidated all the elements of this Q System One to some glass-enclosed, air-tight environment. The company also highlights the integrated platform is aimed to continuously maintain the quality of qubits used to help users effectively perform quantum computations.

The IBM Q System One utilizes a motor-driven rotation about its two homeless axes to facilitate its maintenance and upgrade process. This makes the system acceptable for commercial use instances, IBM said. There’s also a series of independent aluminium and steel frames to help avoid any possible vibration disturbance that could lead to”stage jitter” and qubit decoherence.

IBM is not planning to bring the Q System One to the masses. Nevertheless, there is a strategy to provide partners to the IBM Q Network programme cloud-based access to its quantum computing operations. This seems like the Big Blue is planning to bring a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) version for its own quantum computers later on.

Actual usage cases of quantum computing systems are yet to emerge, though IBM jobs there might be applications such as”finding new ways to model financial information and discovering new ways to model financial data and isolating key worldwide risk factors to make better investments, or even finding the optimal route across global systems such as ultra-efficient logistics and simplifying fleet operations for deliveries”. Every one of these is very likely to be the regions where the IBM Q System One will be sufficient enough. Additionally, the machine is claimed to have a number of custom elements that may open the route for modular quantum computers in the future.

“The IBM Q System One is a Significant step forward in the commercialisation of quantum computing,” saidArvind Krishna, Senior Vice President of Hybrid Cloud and Director of IBM Research, in a press statement. “This new system is critical in expanding quantum computing beyond the walls of the research lab as we work to develop functional quantum programs for business and science.”

IBM has a legacy of attracting enterprise-focused computing solutions. But quantum computing is something that could sit alongside the company’s cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) developments to provide it an edge against the competition. Having said that, it’s still very early to forecast the success of this IBM Q System One.

A replica of this IBM Q System One is being showcased at CES 2019 at Las Vegas.