IBM's first ever cloud-based quantum computer is yours to play with

We are at a brink of a new era of computing. The world has changed dramatically with the Digital revolution, and now, when the term Quantum revolution is already coined in physics, we are getting closer to coining it on a general, even historical level. Today, IBM research announced making its quantum computer available for the public via a cloud service. The project is called Quantum Experience.

It means that anyone can sign up for access to a cloud based application, which is able to create and run algorithms on a quantum processor in IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York. The processor is operating five quantum bits (qubits), which does not sound like much, but qubits can solve certain tasks a lot faster than conventional bits. IBM states that none of today’s top 500 supercomputers can fully emulate even a 50 qubit processor.

IBM created a dynamic user friendly interface, which can serve scientists, but also a broader public and beginners in programming; Image source: YouTube

This is IBM’s effort to make quantum computing more accessible to general public, but also to researchers who do not have an access to a quantum computer. It has tools for explaining how quantum computing works, and hence it can be used in education as well. It is running on desktop and touch screen devices. IBM Research points out that this is a step towards achieving a universal quantum computer, which would be a great milestone for information technologies, outperforming any computer built so far. Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research notes:

“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.”

In order for the quantum computer to work, it has to be cooled down to a fraction of degree above the absolute zero, which makes it quite spacious and very likely that you will not be getting one next Christmas. That is why we encourage you to try out your skills on the one that IBM has made available today.

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