IBM unveils its first quantum computer for commercial use

IBM's Q System One is the world's first commercial quantum computer

Speaking at her keynote this morning, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty revealed the company's next step along its IBM Q quantum computing development process, an entirely new system that it hopes can greatly increase the reach and use of the technology.

Start saving up those pennies, and you too could one day have access to a quantum computer.

The company also signaled plans to open a quantum computing center in NY later this year, which will house a cloud-based quantum computing system for IBM Q Network clients. Potential applications include optimizing a country's power grid, more predictive environmental and highly accurate quantum chemistry calculations to enable the discovery of new materials for more efficient carbon capture. Developed in partnership with United Kingdom industrial and interior design studios Map Project Office and Universal Design Studio, the IBM System Q One sits in a glass-enclosed, air-tight environment.

Designed by IBM scientists, systems engineers and industrial designers, IBM Q System One has a "sophisticated, modular and compact design optimised for stability, reliability and continuous commercial use".

"As we continue to explore practical applications for quantum computing, it's critical we partner with businesses and organizations from a variety of industries and disciplines", said Bob Sutor, vice president, IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem. The casing is important: Qubits lose their quantum computing properties outside of very specific conditions.

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IBM's new system aims to address this challenge with an integrated quantum computer that solves all of that on behalf of customers - hence the casing, which keeps everything in ship-shape.

"The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing", the Director for IBM Research, Mr. Arvind Krishna said. IBM has bet a lot on this futuristic technology and time and again shared its progress in the field of quantum computing. "Protection from this interference is one of many reasons why quantum computers and their components require careful engineering and isolation", IBM said in a statement.

IBM goes on to explain in a company blog post today that the work in these and other areas often begins long before there is any associated practical enterprise uses for the technology the company is probing.

Google is researching how to make quantum computers more stable and better able to find and fix errors, and it has also created and tested qubit processors as it pursues the technology. Unlike modern computers that function using a binary system that give answers made up of ones and zeros, quantum computers use quantum particles known as qubits, allowing huge data sets or complicated algorithms to be answered much faster.

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