IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer

Yolanda Curtis
January 10, 2019

"The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing", swooned Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud and director of IBM Research.

While quantum computing across the board is still in the early and often experimental stages, IBM has emerged as a clear front runner bringing some of the earliest capabilities to customers. It's a cryogenically cooled, nine-foot-tall and nine-foot-wide cube that tackles some of the practical challenges involved in operating 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.

It would be worth mentioning here the IBM Q System is the first practical attempt towards realizing a more powerful quantum computer that we might have previously in vision. The IT giant also sees future where it will be selling such systems in the form of renting access to the hardware over the internet instead of shipping the quantum computer itself. Bob Sutor, the VP of IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem, was kind enough to get back to us.


Among the patents awarded to IBM, 1,600 were AI-related and one of them was for Project Debater, an AI system from IBM Research that can debate humans on complex topics.

"These organizations will work directly with IBM scientists, engineers and consultants to explore quantum computing for specific industries".

"IBM Q systems are created to one day tackle problems that are now seen as too complex and exponential in nature for classical systems to handle", notes the release.

For example, the technology company highlighted how quantum computing could be used to find new ways to model financial data or to optimise fleet operations for deliveries. Bob Sutor, the VP of IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem.


Other providers, such as D-Wave International, are offering specialized quantum computers that harness quantum annealing for optimization problems, from traffic optimization in China to election modeling. However, quantum computers are much more powerful. IBM has, therefore, consolidated all the components of the Q System One into a glass-enclosed, air-tight environment.

Classical computation to provide secure cloud access and hybrid execution of quantum algorithms. But quantum computers are still in the experimental phase. At this year's CES, IBM is announcing the Q System One, impressively billing it as "the world's first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use".

IBM is locked in a race with Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Microsoft Corp. and others in building machines that businesses can use to solve hard real-world problems now beyond the reach of the most powerful conventional supercomputers.


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