Whilst quantum computing is still in its infancy and is mostly Only Part of books and research papers, IBM in CES 2019 Introduced the Q System One that is touted to be the world’s first quantum computer for commercial use.
The new machine doesn’t seem as a mainframe computer. On the contrary, it comes in a futuristic, nine-foot-tall and nine-foot wide instance of half-inch thick borosilicate glass which reminds us of the cylindrical design of the 2013 Mac Pro. The Armonk, New York-headquartered company also has announced its plans to open the first IBM Q Quantum Computation Centre in Poughkeepsie later this year to provide an increase to its own quantum computing enterprise. Especially, the IBM Q System One will not be sold publicly to the masses. The company is, however, set to give accessibility to the quantum computing platform to businesses partnering under the IBM Q Network.
The IBM Q System One is officially called the”world’s first incorporated international approximate quantum computing platform created for scientific and business use”. The machine was designed by a group of industrial designers, architects, and manufacturers together with IBM Research scientists and network engineers. The designing function of this machine was also achieved by UK industrial and interior design studios Map Project Office and Milan-based museum display case manufacturer Goppion, and Universal Design Studio. Notably, Google back in 2017 has been said 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 every single qubit, the machine requires an undistracted environment. IBM has, consequently, merged each of the elements of the Q System One to some glass-enclosed, air-tight environment. The business also highlights that the integrated platform is aimed to always maintain the quality of all qubits used to help users efficiently perform quantum computations.
The IBM Q System One utilizes a motor-driven rotation about both displaced axes to ease its maintenance and update procedure. This makes the system suitable for commercial use cases, IBM said. There is 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 into the IBM Q Network programme cloud-based accessibility to its quantum computing operations. This seems like the Big Blue is planning to bring a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) version for its quantum computers in the future.
Actual use cases of quantum computing are yet to emerge, though IBM projects that there might be applications such as”discovering new ways to model financial data and finding new techniques to model financial data and isolating key global threat factors to make better investments, or finding the optimal path across global systems for ultra-efficient logistics and optimising fleet operations for deliveries”. Every one of these is likely to be the areas in which the IBM Q System One will be sufficient enough. Also, the system is claimed to have a number of custom components that could open the avenue for modular quantum computers later on.
“The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialisation of quantum computing,” stated Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President of Hybrid Cloud and Director of IBM Research, in a press announcement. “This new system is critical in enlarging quantum computing beyond the walls of the research lab as we work to create functional quantum applications for business and science.”
IBM has a heritage of attracting enterprise-focused computing options. But quantum computing is something that can sit alongside the company’s cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) improvements to give it an edge against the competition. Having said this, it’s still very early to predict the success of the IBM Q System One.
A replica of the IBM Q System One is being showcased at CES 2019 at Las Vegas.