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  1. Hardware
May 17, 2017

IBM builds its most powerful quantum processor EVER

Developers, researchers and programmers execute more than 300,000 quantum experiments on IBM Cloud.

By Ellie Burns

IBM has moved a step closer to giving businesses the power of quantum computing with the successful test of its most powerful universal quantum computing processors.

IBM’s first prototype commercial processor boasts 17 qubits and leverages significant materials, device, and architecture improvements to make it the most powerful quantum processor created to date by IBM. It has been engineered to be at least twice as powerful as what is available today to the public on the IBM Cloud and it will be the basis for the first IBM Q early-access commercial systems.·

READS MORE: The Monster Machine: HPE debuts world’s biggest single-memory computer

A second experimental processor that has 16 qubits and will allow for more complex experimentation than the previously available 5 qubit processor is freely accessible for developers, programmers and researchers to run quantum algorithms and experiments, work with individual quantum bits, and explore tutorials and simulations.

“The significant engineering improvements announced today will allow IBM to scale future processors to include 50 or more qubits, and demonstrate computational capabilities beyond today’s classical computing systems,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research and Hybrid Cloud.

“These powerful upgrades to our quantum systems, delivered via the IBM Cloud, allow us to imagine new applications and new frontiers for discovery that are virtually unattainable using classical computers alone.”

IBM Q – Big Blue’s quantum computing project

IBM Q was launched in early 2017, with the goal of building commercially available universal quantum computing systems for business and science applications. Delivered via IBM Cloud, the company first opened public access to its quantum processors one year ago, to serve as an enablement tool for scientific research, a resource for university classrooms, and a catalyst of enthusiasm for the field. To date users have run more than 300,000 quantum experiments on the IBM Cloud.

The two new processors are specifically geared towards business and science, with business optimisation a viable future application of quantum computing. It could provide improved solutions to complex optimization problems found in supply chains, logistics, modeling financial data, and risk analysis.

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Cloud security could also benefit from the power of quantum computing, with the laws of quantum physics used to enhance the security of private data in the cloud.

AI is another viable application of quantum computing, with IBM saying that facets of AI like machine learning cloud become much more powerful. While technologies that currently run on classical computers, such as Watson, can help find patterns and insights buried in vast amounts of existing data, quantum computers will deliver solutions to important problems where patterns cannot be found because there isn’t enough data and the possibilities that you need to explore to get to the answer are too enormous to ever be processed by classical computers.

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