IBM HAS become the first company in the world to offer a quantum computing capability to anyone who wants it.
IBM Quantum Experience is available through the cloud to anyone who needs it (and is willing to pay).
The processor is housed at IBM TJ Watson Research Centre in New York and consists of five superconducting qubits. That is small potatoes and a long way from the number of qubits required to make a Universal Quantum machine, but it's a significant step nonetheless.
IBM believes that a medium (50-100 qubit) machine will be possible within a decade. Even a 50 qubit machine would be able to take a whizz on any Top 500 supercomputer today (probably making them totes cray-Cray).
"Quantum computers are very different from today’s computers, not only in what they look like and are made of, but more importantly in what they can do. Quantum computing is becoming a reality and it will extend computation far beyond what is imaginable with today’s computers," said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director, IBM Research.
"This moment represents the birth of quantum cloud computing. By giving hands-on access to IBM’s experimental quantum systems, the IBM Quantum Experience will make it easier for researchers and the scientific community to accelerate innovations in the quantum field, and help discover new applications for this technology."
The fragility of quantum data, which can be borked by slight changes in temperature and atmosphere, makes cloud an ideal way to let the public have-at-it safely.
Last year, IBM did something quantumy involving squares.
IBM has created a dedicated interface within the IBM Cloud framework and will be offering it as part of the new IBM Research Frontiers Institute.
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