Fraunhofer Institute have just unveiled the Quantum System One, the country's first superconducting quantum computer built by IBM.
Five years after IBM made its first five-qubit quantum processor available for users to access over the cloud, the company is now showing off the first quantum computer that it has physically built outside of its New York-based data centers.
All the way across the Atlantic, scientists from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have just unveiled the IBM Quantum System One the country's first superconducting quantum computer that Big Blue was contracted to build especially for the organization.
The device, which contains one of IBM's 27-qubit Falcon processors, came online a few weeks ago and has already been made available to Fraunhofer's scientists and some of the institute's partners. German academics and organizations outside of Fraunhofer will, from now on, be welcome to arrange monthly contracts to use the computer too for research, education and training purposes.
Fraunhofer's partnership with IBM was signed last year, marking the start of a global expansion for Big Blue's quantum hardware. The company released the Quantum System One in 2019, pitching it as the world's first commercial quantum computer; but until now, users have only accessed the device over the cloud, by connecting to IBM's Quantum Computation Center located in Poughkeepsie, New York.
SEE: Building the bionic brain (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Physically bringing the hardware to a new location for the first time was never going to be easy and the global COVID-19 pandemic only added some extra hurdles. Typically, explains Bob Sutor, chief quantum exponent at IBM, the company would've shipped some key parts and a team of in-house specialists to Germany to assemble the quantum computer, but the pandemic meant that this time, everything had to be done remotely.
IBM's engineers had to rely on NASA-inspired methods of remote assembly. "How do you train people that are thousands of miles away, when you can't just run up to them and say: 'Do this'?" Sutor tells ZDNet. "We had to train local teams remotely and work with them remotely to assemble everything and get this machine running. We developed new techniques to actually put these systems around the world without travelling there. And it worked."
To train German engineers from the local IBM development lab, Sutor's team put together a virtual course in quantum assembly. From installing the computer's refrigeration system to manipulating the Falcon processor, no detail was left out and the device successfully launched in line with the original schedule.
For Fraunhofer, this means that the institute and its partners will now have access to a leading-edge quantum computer built exclusively for German organizations, instead of relying on cloud access to US-based systems.
Since the partnership was announced, the institute has been busy investigating potential applications of quantum computing and designing quantum algorithms that might show an advantage over computations carried out with classical computing.
This is because quantum computing is nascent, and despite the huge potential that researchers are anticipating, much of the technology's promise is still theoretical. Existing quantum processors like IBM's Falcon come with too few qubits and too high an error-rate to resolve large-scale problems that are relevant to businesses. The research effort, therefore, consists of spotting the use-cases that might be suited to the technology once the hardware is ready.
"For users, they need to get in now, they need to understand what quantum computers are, what they're useful for and what are viable approaches using quantum computers that will get them an advantage over using classical computing," says Sutor.
At Fraunhofer, researchers have been looking at a variety of applications ranging from portfolio optimization in finance to logistics planning for manufacturers, through error correction protocols that could improve critical infrastructure and molecular simulation to push chemistry and materials discovery.
Working in partnership with the German Aerospace Center, for example, the institute has been conducting research to find out if quantum algorithmscould simulate electro-chemical processes within energy storage system which, in turn, could help design batteries and fuel cells with better performance and more energy density.
For Annkatrin Sommer, research coordinator at Fraunhofer, the choice of IBM as a quantum partner was a no-brainer. "We really wanted to go for cutting-edge technology where you have the ability to start developing algorithms as fast as possible," she tells ZDNet.
IBM's offer in quantum computing has some significant strengths. Since the release of its first cloud-based quantum processor, the company now has made over 20 Quantum System One machines available, which are accessed by more than 145 organizations around the world. Two billion quantum circuits are established daily with the cloud processors, and IBM is on track to break a trillion circuits before the end of the summer.
The Falcon processors used in the Quantum System One are 27 qubits, but the company is working in parallel on a chip called Hummingbird, which has 65 qubits. Big Blue recentlypublished a quantum hardware roadmapin which it pledged to achieve over 1,000 qubits by 2023 enough to start seeing the early results of quantum computing. Ultimately, IBM is aiming to produce a million-qubit quantum system.
"If I were to throw out a toy system and say: 'Here you go, play, I don't know if it'll ever get better' no one would care," says Sutor. "People need confidence that the machines and the software and apps on them will reasonably quickly be able to do work better than just classical computers."
For an institute like Fraunhofer, the rapid scaling of quantum technologies that IBM is promising is appealing. And the German organization is not alone in placing its bets on Big Blue. This year will also see an IBM Quantum System One installed in Japanas part of a partnership with the University of Tokyo; and back in the US, the Cleveland Clinichas just placed a $500 million order for IBM to build quantum hardware on-premises.
But despite IBM's credentials, Fraunhofer's research team is also keen to stress that it is too early to tell which approach or approaches to quantum computing will show results first. The industry is expanding fast, and withnew companies jumping on the quantum bandwagon every so often, it is hard to differentiate between hype and reality.
This is why, in addition to investing in IBM's superconducting qubits, Fraunhofer is also investigating the use of different approaches like ion traps or diamond.
"Currently, it's not clear which technology will be the best," says Sommer, "and we will probably have different technologies working in parallel for different use cases. It makes sense to start projects with different approaches and after some time, measure how far you got and if you reached your goals. Then, you decide with which technology you should proceed."
It remains that Germany's shiny new Quantum System One puts the country in a favorable position to compete in what isincreasingly shaping up to become a global race to lead in quantum computing.
The German government has already launched a 2 billion ($2.4 billion) funding program for the promotion of quantum technologies in the country, which comes in addition to the European Commission's 1 billion ($1.20 billion) quantum flagship.
Meanwhile, in the US, a $1.2 billion budget was allocated to the National Quantum Initiative Act in 2018. And China, for its part,has made no secret of its ambition to become a leading quantum superpower.
The UK government has also invested a total 1 billion ($1.37 billion) in a National Quantum Technologies Programme. In the next few years, the country is hoping to follow Germany's lead andlaunch its very first commercial quantum computer, which will be built by California-based company Rigetti Computing.
- Breakthroughs in quantum computing drive higher processing power - Digital Nation - November 25th, 2021
- US blocks export of quantum computing tech to Chinese organizations - CNET - November 25th, 2021
- Why Blockchain isnt as secure as you think - Evening Standard - November 25th, 2021
- Tech pioneers to headline Princeton conference on innovation and entrepreneurship - Princeton University - November 25th, 2021
- Quantum Turing machine - Wikipedia - November 11th, 2021
- Is Quantum Computing the Future of AI? - Datanami - November 11th, 2021
- Multiverse Computing Partners with IonQ to Bring Quantum Computing to Global Finance - HPCwire - November 11th, 2021
- Leading Technology Executive Max Schireson Joins Quantum Machines' Board of Directors - HPCwire - November 11th, 2021
- Andrew Chi-Chih Yao receives the 2021 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology: Commemorative Lecture on his wonderful journey in computer science to be... - November 11th, 2021
- Clever Combination of Quantum Physics and Molecular Biology - SciTechDaily - November 11th, 2021
- QuTech creates a time crystal - Innovation Origins - November 6th, 2021
- Grover's algorithm - Wikipedia - November 1st, 2021
- Quantum Engineering | Electrical and Computer Engineering - November 1st, 2021
- First Photonic Quantum Computer on the Cloud - IEEE Spectrum - November 1st, 2021
- Quantum Computer Maker Rigetti to Go Public via $1.5 ... - November 1st, 2021
- Building a large-scale quantum computer is a huge challenge. Will we ever get there? - ZDNet - November 1st, 2021
- Two UCSB Scientists Receive Award to Partner With Ciscos New Quantum Research Team - Noozhawk - November 1st, 2021
- Researchers show new strategy for detecting non-conformist particles called anyons - Brown University - November 1st, 2021
- IonQ to Report Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results on November 15, 2021 - Yahoo Finance - November 1st, 2021
- UCSB and Cisco Systems Collaboration Aims to Push the Boundaries of Quantum Technologies - AZoQuantum - November 1st, 2021
- 'Quantum computer algorithms are linear algebra, probabilities. This is not something that we do a good job of teaching our kids' - The Register - October 2nd, 2021
- Quantum computer company IonQ makes Wall Street debut - Financial Times - October 2nd, 2021
- Fujitsu and Osaka University Deepen Collaborative Research and Development for Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computers - HPCwire - October 2nd, 2021
- Fermilab on the trail for a new building block of matter and quantum computing power - Medill Reports Chicago - Medill Reports: Chicago - October 2nd, 2021
- A Boulder Company Is Leading the Next Technology Revolution - 5280 - 5280 | The Denver Magazine - October 2nd, 2021
- Judith Olson, Senior Physicist at ColdQuanta, Named Next Generation Leader of the Year at Women in IT Awards - HPCwire - October 2nd, 2021
- Quantum Computing in Manufacturing Market Still Has Room To Grow: International Business Machines, D-Wave Systems, Microsoft - Digital Journal - October 2nd, 2021
- The coevolution of particle physics and computing - Symmetry magazine - September 30th, 2021
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Takeover: IoT and Quantum-Resistant Blockchains Are Setting the Trend - FinanceFeeds - September 30th, 2021
- $5M NSF Grant to Fund Research on Quantum Internet Foundations - Maryland Today - September 19th, 2021
- 3 Quantum Computing Stocks to Buy for Their Promising Healthcare Potential - InvestorPlace - September 19th, 2021
- DoD Buys Two New Supercomputers That Rank Among Its Most Powerful Ever - Breaking Defense - September 19th, 2021
- College Park's IonQ and the University of Maryland are teaming up to open a $20M quantum lab - Technical.ly DC - September 15th, 2021
- Where the laws of matter break down, a quantum discovery crops up - UPJ Athletics - September 15th, 2021
- Small, diamond-based quantum computers could be in our hands within five years - Cosmos Magazine - August 26th, 2021
- IBM partners with the University of Tokyo on quantum computer - Illinoisnewstoday.com - August 26th, 2021
- A Simple Crystal Could Finally Give Us Large-Scale Quantum Computing, Scientists Say - ScienceAlert - August 16th, 2021
- IBM Partnering with University of Tokyo on Quantum Computer - Datamation - August 16th, 2021
- 40 years ago the first IBM PC was presented, that's how it was and what it knew how to do - Tech Gaming Report - August 14th, 2021
- The week in science news: Olympic Bat, controlled qubits, and speeding metal stars - TechRadar - August 14th, 2021
- Quantum information and quantum field theory: Study found a new connection between them - Tech Explorist - August 14th, 2021
- Global AI Chipsets for Wireless Networks and Devices, Cloud and Next Generation Computing, IoT, and Big Data Analytics to 2026 -... - August 14th, 2021
- What is quantum computing? Everything you need to know about the strange world of quantum computers - ZDNet - July 29th, 2021
- Is Bitcoin (BTC) Safe from Grover's Algorithm? - Yahoo Finance - July 29th, 2021
- Will the NSA Finally Build Its Superconducting Spy Computer? - IEEE Spectrum - July 29th, 2021
- IBM's newest quantum computer is now up-and-running: Here's what it's going to be used for - ZDNet - July 27th, 2021
- URI to host international experts for conference on future of quantum computing - URI Today - July 27th, 2021
- Research by University of Surrey and Arqit reveals Quantum Threat to Digital Assets - Business Wire - July 27th, 2021
- A Roadmap On The Geopolitical Impact Of Emerging Technologies By Chuck Brooks And Dr. David Bray - Forbes - July 27th, 2021
- IBM and CERN on quantum computing to track the elusive Higgs boson - Tech News Inc - July 27th, 2021
- The Convergence of Communication and Computation with Dr. Vida Ilderem - RCR Wireless News - July 27th, 2021
- Quantum Computing Market is anticipated to surge at a CAGR of 33.7% over the next ten years - PRNewswire - July 21st, 2021
- Quantum Computing for the Future Grid - Transmission & Distribution World - July 21st, 2021
- Red Hat embraces quantum supremacy as it looks to the future - SiliconANGLE News - July 21st, 2021
- Quantum Computing Is Coming. What Can It Do? - Harvard Business Review - July 16th, 2021
- Rigetti Computing Partners with Riverlane, Astex Pharmaceuticals on Quantum Computing for Drug Discovery - HPCwire - July 16th, 2021
- Quantware Launches the World's First Commercially Available Superconducting Quantum Processors, Accelerating the Advent of the Quantum Computer. -... - July 16th, 2021
- The Future of Data Encryption: What You Need to Know Now - FedTech Magazine - July 16th, 2021
- Quantum computing: this is how quantum programming works using the example of random walk - Market Research Telecast - July 16th, 2021
- IBM shows the advantages of a quantum computer over traditional computers - Tech News Inc - July 16th, 2021
- Quantum Blockchain Technologies Plc - Working with D-Wave Systems - Yahoo Finance UK - July 6th, 2021
- Conclusions from Forum TERATEC 2021: European Cooperation, Novel Uses of HPC - HPCwire - July 6th, 2021
- IBM researchers demonstrate the advantage that quantum computers have over classical computers - ZDNet - July 2nd, 2021
- Is this the first physics problem that the quantum computer will solve? - Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) - July 2nd, 2021
- New research proves that quantum computational errors are correlated and connects them to cosmic rays - Illinoisnewstoday.com - July 2nd, 2021
- CSRWire - Refusing Limits with Liz Ruetsch - CSRwire.com - July 2nd, 2021
- Crdit Agricole CIB partners with Pasqal and Multiverse Computing - IBS Intelligence - June 29th, 2021
- Keynotes Announced for IEEE International Conference on Quantum Computing and Engineering - HPCwire - June 29th, 2021
- The evolution of cryptographic algorithms - Ericsson - June 29th, 2021
- EU rewrites rulebook on science and technology cooperation with the rest of the world - Science Business - June 29th, 2021
- Quantum computers take up a lot of space. Researchers decided to shrink this one down - ZDNet - June 22nd, 2021
- New discoveries of rare superconductors may be essential for the future of quantum computing - Illinoisnewstoday.com - June 22nd, 2021
- Williams F1 drives digital transformation in racing with AI, quantum - VentureBeat - June 22nd, 2021
- Global IT giant to partner with U of C on quantum computing centre - Calgary Herald - June 2nd, 2021
- A Computer Memory Based on Cold Atoms and Light - Physics - June 2nd, 2021
- Quantum Chip Market by Trends, Dynamic Innovation in Technology and 2027 Forecasts Covid-19 Analysis The Manomet Current - The Manomet Current - June 2nd, 2021
- Quantum Blockchain inks deal with cryptography expert to optimise Bitcoin mining operations - Proactive Investors UK - June 2nd, 2021
- ColdQuanta Named to IBM Quantum Network to Help Research Quantum Computing Applications - ExecutiveBiz - May 28th, 2021
- Big bang theory: Maryland company moves ahead in quantum space race - The Star Democrat - May 28th, 2021
- Quantum internet: The race is on to build an unhackable online world - New Scientist - May 28th, 2021