IBM recently made a series of announcements. These include the initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems, the release of a new API, and the release of an upgraded simulator on the IBM Quantum Experience. The company mentioned that the quantum systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform. The quantum computers are able to deliver solutions to important problems classical computers could not handle. This might not seem important to the regular users. However, it can prove to be quite a huge step for businesses and for science.
As a first step towards delivering quantum computers to the science and business areas, IBM will build commercial Q systems with ~50 qubits. With these systems, the company aims to demonstrate capabilities beyond today’s classical computers. Naturally, the company also plans on collaborating with key industry partners to develop applications that exploit the quantum speedup of the systems. The first area where the quantum computers will prove to be useful is chemistry. Regular computing systems can’t even handle quantum states for simple molecules, like caffeine. Thanks to the quantum computing solutions, problems that are now too complicated for usual computers will seem to be a lot easier to handle.
Of course, the utility of the quantum computers doesn’t stop at chemistry. Future applications of the system can also include drug and materials discovery, supply chain and logistics. Financial services, artificial intelligence, and cloud security are also areas where the quantum system can be useful. In order to deliver this experience to the masses, IBM is closely working with developers, programmers and university partners. Even though this initiative is a new one, people already had access to the company’s quantum computer. In the past year, over 40,000 users have run over 275,000 experiments on it. Now, thanks to the new platform, the system will also be available for commercial purposes. This way, a lot more people will have access to it.