At the CES in Las Vegas, IBM announced the launch of its first commercial quantum computer called IBM Q System One.
IBM used its CES 2019 Opening Keynote to launch what the company announces as the “first fully integrated universal quantum computer for scientific and commercial use”.
Judging by its spectacular look, the IBM Q System One was definitely designed for commercial use.
Nevertheless, the description of the manufacturer’s communication service, if not literally false, somewhat extrapolates reality. Contrary to the message conveyed, the machine, with its power limited to 20 Qubits, is too weak for business uses and is more intended for research into algorithms and quantum uses. The performance of the IBM Q System One is still a priori too limited to surpass the capabilities of current conventional machines even on purely quantum issues (even Atos’ QLM simulator based on conventional processors simulates twice as many Qubits).
The IBM Q System One is composed of different elements:
- A quantum hardware designed to be stable and autocalibrated to provide high quality qubits (repeatable and predictable).
- A specific design incorporating a cryogenic chamber to provide an isolated quantum environment at a stabilized temperature.
- High-precision miniaturized electronics to control qubits.
- A quantum firmware to manage system health and ensure system updates without downtime.
- A classic compute stage to provide secure cloud access and hybrid execution of quantum algorithms.
In short, the IBM Q System One has the merit of existing, demonstrating IBM’s lead and will certainly make many developers and IT enthusiasts dream. Above all, it marks a first concrete step towards the commercialization of quantum computers in the coming years. And that’s already a lot….