IBM Sets New Quantum Computing Project

By Victor Thomson , Mar 07, 2017 03:00 AM EST

A new IBM quantum computing program called Q delivers more than 50 qubits. The company will provide paid quantum computing consulting and services to users.

IBM's 5-Qubit Quantum Computer

Since it was launched last May, the response to IBM's 5-qubit quantum computer was amazing, with 15 research papers written by the external community, more than 200,000 experiments and about 40,000 users. This success compelled IBM to launch a commercial service for quantum computing. Access to the 5-qubit IBM quantum computer is offered as part of a program called the Quantum Experience, through the public cloud.

IBM's 50-qubit quantum computing services will remain available for free, according to the company. The smaller quantum computer prepared the way for the company to expand the program and launch IBM Q. The focus for the 50-bit quantum computers will be on bringing connectivity between qubits, stability, as well as gating and error correction. For a fee, the IBM Q systems will be available for use to customers in chemistry and finance, according to CNET.

IBM Q Quantum Computing Program

According to Computerworld, the new IBM Q quantum computing project is much like IBM's Watson supercomputer that uses conventional computers. IBM has a 5-qubit system already in use, but the 50-qubit quantum computer will be 10 times larger. The new system will make scientific discoveries and accelerate drug discovery.

By using qubits of information instead of binary data, quantum computers are radically different than conventional PCs. Tech experts forecast that quantum computers will ultimately replace today's PCs and servers. As making smaller chips become challenging and today's classic computers reach their limit, quantum computers offer a way to advance computing science.

In order to show that quantum computers aren't just theoretical dreams, IBM is building such faster systems. The company's ultimate goal is to build a universal quantum computer able to run a wide range of computing tasks, based on a processing power of thousands of qubits. According to Scott Crowder, vice president and chief technology officer of quantum computing for IBM Systems, the 50-bit quantum computer is big enough to develop algorithms and start solving some real problems.

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