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IBM recently took more than a leap in the quantum computing world by unveiling its two powerful computing platforms. Of these two, the first platform is the 16-qubit Quantum Experience universal computer. The other offering, which is going to form the core of its IBM Q commercial system, is a 17-qubit commercial processor prototype.This vastly improves upon the existing 5-qubit Quantum Computers. A qubit or quantum bit is analogous to a bit used in traditional/classical computing. Unlike the states 0 or 1 for binary bits, qubits can have an infinite number of states all the same time. They have properties such as superposition, entanglement, and nonlocality that are exhibited only in the quantum world. This enables performing computations based on qubits hundreds of thousands times faster than possible with today’s technology.
Exciting days ahead for the community
This launch follows the 2016 development when IBM threw open their 5-qubit system for free public access and testing. The spate of excitement clearly demonstrated the interest among developer community with more than 300,000 experiments run on the system.With the twin offering, IBM is again expecting that developers and researchers community will test out the powerful platforms. The new platforms can perform much more complex computations than IBM’s previous 5-quibit offering. This lends it perfectly to the experiments that could not be conducted because of the complex computations involved.To request beta access, visit this IBM GitHub page. Alternatively, to get a comprehensive experience, visit IBM Q Experience library.And in what surely is music to the ears of the computing enthusiasts, IBM is upping the ante with a planned 50-qubit quantum computing platform. And it won’t stop there; IBM plans to keep up scaling, thereby making the unimaginable quite feasible in the near future.
Smashing technology barriers to quantum computing
The research has gained much pace in recent years. Researchers are smashing down one barrier after the other. 2016 witnessed the development of a quantum logic gate with 99.9 percent precision (citation: The paper ‘High-Fidelity Quantum Logic Gates Using Trapped-Ion Hyperfine Qubits’ is published in Physical Review Letters). Further, researchers were able to successfully use microwave signals to encode the data used in quantum computing (citation: The paper ‘Integrated optical addressing of an ion qubit’ is published in Nature Nanotechnology). This offers a revolutionary new alternative to the optical solutions to store data. Researchers also produced far more stable qubits using silicon atoms, thereby allowing much longer time frame to perform calculations.
What lies ahead
The recent developments have clearly demonstrated the need for public collaboration to ensure widespread adoption of quantum computing. And IBM offering its powerful new computing platforms free to the public are steps in the right direction. A direction that paves a path replete with mind boggling possibilities and unbridled innovations.
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