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May 4, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:50am

IBM launches free quantum computing as a cloud service for anyone to use

News: Big Blue has built a quantum processor consisting of five superconducting qubits.

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM has launched quantum computing as a cloud service to enable researchers to develop new applications for the technology with ease.

The firm has built a quantum processor that can be accessed through a quantum computing platform delivered via the IBM Cloud onto any desktop or mobile device.

Users can run algorithms and experiments on IBM’s quantum processor through the cloud-enabled quantum computing platform, called IBM Quantum Experience.

The platform will also allow users to work with the individual quantum bits (qubits), and explore tutorials and simulations possible with quantum computing.

Housed at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York, the quantum processor consists of five superconducting qubits. The five-qubit processor is an enhanced feature in IBM’s quantum architecture that can scale to larger quantum systems, the company said.

IBM Research senior vice president and director Arvind Krishna said: "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.

"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."

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The company has developed a dynamic user interface to enable users to easily connect to the quantum hardware through its cloud platform.

Going forward, users will have a chance to review their results in a community to be hosted on the IBM Quantum Experience.

IBM plans to increase the number of qubits on its quantum computing platform to enable users to perform more experiments.

The superconducting qubits are made with superconducting metals on a silicon chip and can be designed and manufactured using standard silicon fabrication techniques.

IBM Research vice president of science and solutions Dario Gil said: "It is a beautiful challenge to pursue the path to build the first universal quantum computer, but it requires us to change how we think about the world. Access to early quantum computing prototypes will be key in imagining and developing future applications.

"If you want to understand what a true quantum computer will do for you and how it works, this is the place to do it. You won’t experience it anywhere else."

Quantum computing is expected to solve complex problems related to large-scale financial analysis and more effective drug development that are practically impossible with the present day technology.

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