IBM HAS become the world's first vendor of open Quantum cloud computing.
IBM Q begins rollout today and will be accessible on a pay-as-you-use basis in common with a number of IBM products.
But, while that sounds great, it's not going to be outperforming a regular computer, but rather a catalyst to future development in the sector.
The paid version is an upgraded version of the IBM Quantum Experience, which has been given a facelift and is open to all as a "curiosity".
Nature reports that the IBM QE has been used to help those without direct access to Quantum machines (which let's face it, is almost everyone) to get used to designing Quantum algorithms and thus build what IBM says is a ‘community and ecosystem'.
Details so far are scant. We don't have a launch date (apart from 2017) and we don't have pricing details. We also don't know the pre-selected first clients which have already been chosen.
It's easy to get distracted from what the point of all this is. At one level, because IBM Q won't be any faster than a conventional cloud array, it all seems a bit daft. But with more and more stock being put in the idea of quantum as the future of supercomputing, and further advances being announced almost weekly, this is the time for companies to get in on the ground floor and grow with the new tech.
With a huge skills shortage in the IT sector, getting ready for the next big thing in computing will mean that companies aren't bitten a second time. But it's not just like switching to another dialect or language. Programmers will need to understand the limitations of Qubits.
Because Quantum demands such specific environmental factors and still requires constant tweaking, it's an ideal candidate for the Cloud, as it lets the vendor deal with the baggage, leaving the end user free to develop.
The news comes after last week, UK scientists announced the first computer to be made using DNA, which is said to be the main potential rival to Quantum. µ
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