In the grueling race to build a practical quantum computer, tech companies are keeping their spirits up by loudly cheering every milestone no matter how small. One of the most vocal competitors is IBM, which today at CES unveiled the IBM Q System One: a 20-qubit quantum computer thats built for stability, but with some very flashy design.
IBM is touting the Q System One as the worlds first fully integrated universal quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use. But thats a description that needs a lot of context. The Q System One may be designed for commercial use, but its not exactly ready for it. Not in the way you might think.
Quantum computers like the Q System One are still very much experimental devices. They cant outperform classical computers at useful tasks (in fact, your laptop is probably more powerful when it comes to real-life computation), but are instead supposed to be research tools; letting us work out, qubit by qubit, how quantum devices might work at all.
Its more like a stepping stone than a practical quantum computer, Winfried Hensinger, professor of quantum technologies at the UKs University of Sussex, told The Verge. Dont think of this as a quantum computer that can solve all of the problems quantum computing is known for. Think of it as a prototype machine that allows you to test and further develop some of the programming that might be useful in the future.
And even as an experimental device, its not like IBM is going to start selling the Q System One at Best Buy. The company wont say how much it costs to buy one of these machines or even how many its made. Like IBMs other quantum computers, its accessible only via the cloud, where companies and research institutes can buy time on the IBM Q Network. And today IBM announced two new customers on the network: energy giant ExxonMobil, and European research lab CERN, the organization that built the Large Hadron Collider.
So whats special about the Q System One? Well, IBM says the main achievement is turning an experimental quantum machine into something with reliability (and looks) closer to that of a mainframe computer. Quantum computing is an extremely delicate business. Chips need to be kept at freezing temperatures and can be disturbed by the tiniest electrical fluctuations or physical vibrations. The Q System One, says IBM, minimizes these problems.
This is something IBM brings to the market that no one else really does. We know how to do integrated systems, IBMs VP of quantum research, Bob Sutor, tells The Verge. The electronics for a quantum computer are not something you go buy off the shelf. You need a temperature controlled environment, you need to minimize the vibrations anything that might disrupt the quantum calculations.
Sutor says that a practical advantage of engineering a machine like the Q System One is that it reduces research downtime. Resetting a quantum computer after an upset caused by a power surge or a disgruntled look from a technician is much, much quicker with a device like the Q System One. What used to take days and weeks now takes hour or days, says Sutor.
And while these might sound like marginal gains, if were ever going to have quantum computers that do change the world in all the ways we dream of (by discovering new drugs, for example, and unlocking fusion energy) reliable research will absolutely be key.
And perhaps just as importantly, the Q System One looks the part. The machine was designed by Map Project Office, an industrial design consultancy thats worked with companies like Sonos, Honda, and Graphcore. The Q System One is contained in a nine-foot borosilicate glass cube, with its delicate internals sheathed by a shiny, rounded black case. Its reminiscent of both Apples dustbin-like 2013 Mac Pro and the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It looks like a computer from the future.
For IBM this is not simply a side benefit its part of the plan. The 107-year-old company may still rake in billions in revenue each quarter (mostly from legacy enterprise deals), but its facing what some analysts have called irreversible structural decline. Its failed to come out ahead in the tech industrys most recent growth areas, mobile and cloud computing, and it needs new revenue streams to carry it through its second century of existence. AI is one bet, quantum computing another.
Sutor doesnt mention these problems, but he does note that the Q System One is supposed to inspire confidence both in quantum computing and in IBM itself.
People, when they see quantum computing systems, their eyes just glow, he tells The Verge. And its because they understand that these things that were just rumored about, or that were just too futuristic, are now starting to be produced. They can look at these things and say, Ah, IBM sees the path forward!
And machines like the Q System One are still useful on these terms, giving people a glimpse of the future. But we need to remember, says Hensinger, that theres lots of work yet to be done. I wouldnt call this a breakthrough, he says. But its a productive step towards commercial realization of quantum computing.
See the original post:
IBMs new quantum computer is a symbol, not a breakthrough
- Covid 19 Pandemic: Quantum Computing Technologies Market 2020, Share, Growth, Trends And Forecast To 2025 - 3rd Watch News - May 24th, 2020
- Molecular dynamics used to simulate 100 million atoms | Opinion - Chemistry World - May 23rd, 2020
- Highest-performing quantum simulator IN THE WORLD delivered to Japan - TechGeek - May 18th, 2020
- Light, fantastic: the path ahead for faster, smaller computer processors - News - The University of Sydney - May 18th, 2020
- Wiring the quantum computer of the future - Space Daily - April 29th, 2020
- Technologies That You Can Explore Other Than Data Science During Lockdown - Analytics India Magazine - April 29th, 2020
- Will Quantum Computing Really Change The World? Facts And Myths - Analytics India Magazine - April 23rd, 2020
- Google's top quantum computing brain may or may not have quit - Fudzilla - April 23rd, 2020
- On the Heels of a Light Beam - Scientific American - April 23rd, 2020
- Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): What It Is and How It Works - Hashed Out by The SSL Store - Hashed Out by The SSL Store - April 23rd, 2020
- Google's Head of Quantum Computing Hardware Resigns - WIRED - April 21st, 2020
- COVID-19: Quantum computing could someday find cures for coronaviruses and other diseases - TechRepublic - April 21st, 2020
- The future of quantum computing in the cloud - TechTarget - April 21st, 2020
- Quantum computer chips demonstrated at the highest temperatures ever - New Scientist News - April 17th, 2020
- Alex Garland on 'Devs,' free will and quantum computing - Engadget - April 14th, 2020
- RAND report finds that, like fusion power and Half Life 3, quantum computing is still 15 years away - The Register - April 12th, 2020
- Quantum computing: When to expect the next major leap - TechRepublic - April 12th, 2020
- Cambridge Quantum Computing Performs the World's First Quantum Natural Language Processing Experiment - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - April 12th, 2020
- The Well-matched Combo of Quantum Computing and Machine Learning - Analytics Insight - March 23rd, 2020
- Picking up the quantum technology baton - The Hindu - March 23rd, 2020
- Research by University of Chicago PhD Student and EPiQC Wins IBM Q Best Paper - HPCwire - March 23rd, 2020
- Honeywell Achieves Breakthrough That Will Enable The Worlds Most Powerful Quantum Computer #47655 - New Kerala - March 23rd, 2020
- Is time broken? Physicists filmed a quantum measurement but the 'moment' was blurry - The Next Web - March 5th, 2020
- What Is Quantum Computing? The Next Era of Computational ... - March 3rd, 2020
- Honeywell says it will soon launch the worlds most powerful quantum computer - TechCrunch - March 3rd, 2020
- Majority of Promising AI Startups Are Still Based in the US - Transport Topics Online - March 3rd, 2020
- 10 Revolutionary Technologies To Lookout For In 2020 - Fossbytes - March 3rd, 2020
- Quantum researchers able to split one photon into three - Space Daily - March 3rd, 2020
- Physicists Captured The Moment That An Atom Enters Quantum Measurement - Somag News - February 29th, 2020
- This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 29) - Singularity Hub - February 29th, 2020
- IC Breakthroughs: Energy Harvesting, Quantum Computing, and a 96-Core Processor in Six Chiplets - News - All About Circuits - February 29th, 2020
- Top 10 Strategic Technology Breakthroughs That Will Transform Our Lives - Analytics Insight - February 29th, 2020
- New Intel chip could accelerate the advent of quantum computing - RedShark News - February 28th, 2020
- Particle accelerator technology could solve one of the most vexing problems in building quantum computers - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory - February 28th, 2020
- Top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2020 - TechRepublic - February 28th, 2020
- 21st ISQED Conference to Commence With Focus on Quantum Computing, Security, and AI/ML & Electronic Design - PRNewswire - February 25th, 2020
- NTT Research to Collaborate with UCLA and Georgetown on Cryptography and Blockchain - Yahoo Finance - February 25th, 2020
- Should decision makers be concerned by the threat of quantum? - Information Age - February 25th, 2020
- Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - February 11th, 2020
- A neural network that learned to predict the behavior of a quantum system - Tech Explorist - February 9th, 2020
- Deltec Bank, Bahamas A combination of Quantum Computing and Blockchain Technology Will Have a huge Impact on Banking - Press Release - Digital... - February 5th, 2020
- Could Photonic Chips Outpace the Fastest Supercomputers? - Singularity Hub - February 5th, 2020
- Google claims to have invented a quantum computer, but IBM begs to differ - The Conversation CA - January 22nd, 2020
- Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 22nd, 2020
- U of T's Peter Wittek, who will be remembered at Feb. 3 event, on why the future is quantum - News@UofT - January 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market 2019, Size, Share, Global Industry Growth, Business Statistics, Top Leaders, Competitive Landscape, Forecast To... - January 17th, 2020
- This Week In Security: Windows 10 Apocalypse, Paypal Problems, And Cablehaunt - Hackaday - January 17th, 2020
- Kitchener's Angstrom Engineering is making a quantum leap with its next-generation technology - TheRecord.com - January 17th, 2020
- Xanadu Receives $4.4M Investment from SDTC to Advance its Photonic Quantum Computing Technology - Yahoo Finance - January 16th, 2020
- The dark side of IoT, AI and quantum computing: Hacking, data breaches and existential threat - ZDNet - January 16th, 2020
- 'How can we compete with Google?': the battle to train quantum coders - The Guardian - January 16th, 2020
- IBM heads US patent list for 27th consecutive year - Technology Decisions - January 16th, 2020
- New Technique May Be Capable of Creating Qubits From Silicon Carbide Wafer - Tom's Hardware - January 14th, 2020
- The hunt for the 'angel particle' continues - Big Think - January 13th, 2020
- How to verify that quantum chips are computing correctly - MIT News - January 13th, 2020
- Googles Quantum Supremacy will mark the End of the Bitcoin in 2020 - The Coin Republic - January 13th, 2020
- Bleeding edge information technology developments - IT World Canada - January 13th, 2020
- Jeffrey Epstein scandal: MIT professor put on leave, he 'failed to inform' college that sex offender made donations - CNBC - January 10th, 2020
- The teenager that's at CES to network - Yahoo Singapore News - January 10th, 2020
- AI, ML and quantum computing to cement position in 2020: Alibabas Jeff Zhang - Tech Observer - January 8th, 2020
- Perspective: End Of An Era | WNIJ and WNIU - WNIJ and WNIU - January 8th, 2020
- Volkswagen carried out the world's first pilot project for traffic optimization with a quantum computer - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 6th, 2020
- The 12 Most Important and Stunning Quantum Experiments of 2019 - Livescience.com - December 31st, 2019
- Physicists Just Achieved The First-Ever Quantum Teleportation Between Computer Chips - ScienceAlert - December 31st, 2019
- Quantum Supremacy and the Regulation of Quantum Technologies - The Regulatory Review - December 31st, 2019
- The Best of Science in 2019 - Research Matters - December 31st, 2019
- Technology And Society: Can Marketing Save The World? - Forbes - December 31st, 2019
- From the image of a black hole to 'artificial embryos', 2019 was the year of many firsts in science - Economic Times - December 28th, 2019
- Information teleported between two computer chips for the first time - New Atlas - December 26th, 2019
- Same Plastic That Make Legos Could Also Be The Best Thermal Insulators Used in Quantum Computers - KTLA Los Angeles - December 26th, 2019
- Quanta's Year in Math and Computer Science (2019) - Quanta Magazine - December 26th, 2019
- 2019 EurekAlert! Trending Release List the most international ever - Science Codex - December 26th, 2019
- The big science and environment stories of 2019 - BBC News - December 26th, 2019
- Could quantum computing be the key to cracking congestion? - SmartCitiesWorld - December 15th, 2019
- ProBeat: AWS and Azure are generating uneasy excitement in quantum computing - VentureBeat - December 15th, 2019
- Will quantum computing overwhelm existing security tech in the near future? - Help Net Security - December 15th, 2019
- Quantum expert Robert Sutor explains the basics of Quantum Computing - Packt Hub - December 15th, 2019
- Traditional cryptography doesn't stand a chance against the quantum age - Inverse - December 15th, 2019
- China is beating the US when it comes to quantum security - MIT Technology Review - December 15th, 2019
- Technology to Highlight the Next 10 Years: Quantum Computing - Somag News - December 15th, 2019