Any business can now get access to IBM’s quantum computer

6 Mar 2017

The interior of IBM Research’s quantum computer. Image: IBM Research

IBM is expanding the availability of quantum computing in the real world, by offering business customers the chance to access ultra-fast computing speeds through the cloud.

While researchers and computer scientists may be trying to push through the advent of quantum computing in real-world applications, the reality is that the technology is far from being commercially available in people’s homes or businesses.

However, IBM is hoping to bridge the gap in the meantime, announcing a new initiative to build commercially available quantum computing systems.

In a traditional computer, the binary system allows an action to result in either a one or a zero, but in a quantum computer’s qubit, this action can be either a one, zero or both, resulting in significantly faster processing speeds.

Looking to the future, quantum computers could be used to solve some of society’s greatest problems.

In particular, IBM has said that quantum computers will solve important problems where patterns cannot be seen because the data doesn’t exist.

This is because the possibilities that you need to explore to get to the answer are too enormous to ever be processed by classical computers.

IBM first revealed its intentions to open up quantum computing to the masses of the science and research fields in May of last year. It has so far seen 40,000 people conduct more than 275,000 experiments using the platform.

‘Potential to drive a new era of innovation across industries’

This expansion will increase its influence on major business decisions, including the creation of a new API for developers and programmers to begin building interfaces between its existing five-qubit cloud quantum computer and classical computers.

The new API has been designed to be usable by any developer without a need for understanding quantum physics. In the first half of 2017, IBM plans to release an upgraded simulator with 20 qubits of power to build simple quantum applications and software programs.

IBM Research’s director, Arvind Krishna, said: “Following Watson and blockchain, we believe that quantum computing will provide the next powerful set of services delivered via the IBM Cloud platform, and promises to be the next major technology that has the potential to drive a new era of innovation across industries.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic