IBM has progressed with its quantum computing initiative Q enough to produce a system capable of running outside a research lab, opening possibilities to rent access to it.
It plans to house an undisclosed number of these systems at an IBM Q Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2019. IBM Q is building quantum computers with the potential to solve some problems beyond the reach of classical computers in such areas as financial services, pharmaceuticals and artificial intelligence.
Q System One also boasts being the first "universal approximate superconducting quantum computers to operate beyond the confines of the research lab".
Quantum computing is still in the infancy stage, and IBM's 20-qubit Q System One is more like a stepping stone in the right direction, although it is designed for commercial use by different clients, it will take some time for quantum systems to be mainstream solutions for highly complex and exponential problems along with normal real-life computation requirements.
The system was developed alongside the Map Project Office, a United Kingdom industrial and interior design studio and Universal Design Studio and it rests in an air-tight environment that is enclosed by thick borosilicate glass.
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The computer itself is in a nine-by-nine glass cube that maintains it at the exactly correct temperature and other conditions it needs to do its work - a kind of fragility that means that you can't just order one and have it sent; customers will access it via the IBM Cloud.
"This is something IBM brings to the market that no one else really does". "The IBM Q System One gets us closer to practical applications in chemistry and the development of new medicines, and new materials", wrote Sutor. Companies won't be able to run out and buy the machines, though-they're only accessible via IBM's computing cloud.
It said that the design "includes a nine-foot-tall, nine-foot-wide case of half-inch thick borosilicate glass forming a sealed, airtight enclosure".
Quantum computing is all about quantum bits, or qubits, and for processing every single qubit, the machine needs an undistracted environment. This can be opened using a motor-driven rotation, in order to simplify the system's maintenance and upgrade process, says IBM.
A series of independent aluminum and steel frames unify, but also decouple the system's cryostat, control electronics, and exterior casing, helping to isolate the system components for improved performance.
"The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing", added Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud and director of IBM Research. The Q System One is created to reduce interference like vibration, ambient noise, electromagnetic waves and changes in temperature.