IBM has unveiled what it is calling the first commercial quantum computer available outside the research lab. The computing giant unveiled the IBM Q System One at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on 9th January 2019.
IBM says it is the world’s first “integrated universal approximate quantum computing system” designed for scientific and commercial use. The 20-qubit system combines quantum and classical computing parts into a single package, which comes in a roughly 2.75 metre square box.
IBM also announced plans to open its first IBM Q Quantum Computation Centre for commercial clients in Poughkeepsie, New York State in 2019.
The firm says IBM Q Systems is designed to tackle problems currently seen as too complex and exponential for classical computer systems. It says future applications may include new ways to model financial data and isolating key global risk factors to make better investments.
It may also enable ultra-efficient logistics and fleet operations.
The system was designed by IBM scientists, systems engineers and industrial designers. The firm says it has a sophisticated, modular and compact design optimised for stability, reliability and continuous commercial use.
It is comprised of a number of custom components that work together to serve as the most advanced cloud-based quantum computing program available, including:
- Quantum hardware designed to be stable and auto-calibrated to give repeatable and predictable high-quality qubits
- Cryogenic engineering that delivers a continuous cold and isolated quantum environment
- High precision electronics in compact form factors to tightly control large numbers of qubits
- Quantum firmware to manage the system health and enable system upgrades without downtime for users and classical computation to provide secure cloud access and hybrid execution of quantum algorithms.
The IBM Q Quantum Computation Centre, opening later this year in Poughkeepsie, New York, will expand the IBM Q Network commercial quantum computing program, which already includes systems at the Thomas J. Watson Research Centre in Yorktown, New York State.
The firm says that IBM Poughkeepsie is positioned to be one of the few places in the world with the technical capabilities, infrastructure and expertise to run a quantum computation centre, including access to high performance computing systems and a high-availability data centre needed to work alongside quantum computers.
Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud and director of IBM Research said: “The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing. 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.”