IBM unveiled the IBM Q System One on Tuesday, billed as the world's first quantum computer that businesses will actually be able to buy and use. Theoretically much faster and more powerful, quantum computers have always been considered as the successor to modern computers and supercomputers. IBM Q is building quantum computers with the potential to solve some problems beyond the reach of classical computers in such areas as financial services, pharmaceuticals and artificial intelligence.
IBM has presented a commercial 17-qubit processor prototype back in 2017, which was what paved the way to the Q System One we have on our hands as of today.
IBM has showcased its IBM Q System One at CES 2019, which it claims is the world's first integrated quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use. The designing work of the machine was also accomplished by United Kingdom industrial and interior design studios Map Project Office and Milan-based museum display case manufacturer Goppion, and Universal Design Studio. Currently, the biggest problem IBM is working towards is to have a modular and easy-to-upgrade integrated system for quantum computing. Whereas the bits found in a traditional computer hold either a 1 or a 0 at any given time, the quantum equivalent - the qubit - can exist in both states at once.
IBM isn't aiming to bring the Q System One to the masses. "This new system is critical in expanding quantum computing beyond the walls of the research lab as we work to develop practical quantum applications for business and science". The company is, however, set to give access to the quantum computing system to businesses partnering under the IBM Q Network.
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Their design includes a nine-foot-tall, nine-foot-wide case of half-inch thick borosilicate glass forming a sealed, airtight enclosure. Protection from this interference is one of many reasons why quantum computers and their components require careful engineering and isolation. This can be opened using a motor-driven rotation, in order to simplify the system's maintenance and upgrade process, says IBM.
IBM has banked on quantum as one of its core future technologies, first opening up client access through the cloud past year.
ExxonMobil's partnership with IBM expands the company's collaborative efforts with other companies and academic institutions that are focused on developing an array of new energy technologies, improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 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. They quickly lose their special quantum properties, typically within 100 microseconds (for state-of-the-art superconducting qubits), due in part to electromagnetic environment, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations.