Three years after launching the world’s first publicly available quantum computer over the cloud, we’re introducing a number of significant enhancements to the IBM Q Experience quantum cloud services and software platform. The public beta of an entirely new experience lets current and new users make circuits and application-building tools. These services further accelerate the movement of research and development on IBM Q systems toward practical applications. In addition, simplified access to the open-source Qiskit quantum computing software framework will help IBM Q Experience’s rapidly growing developer community take full advantage of IBM Q systems.
Since launching on May 4, 2016, users have run more than 10 million quantum experiments on IBM Q Experience, and there have been more than 180,000 Qiskit downloads. Members of our quantum community have already published more than 150 third-party papers exploring new computing algorithms in chemistry, machine learning, and more, as well as approaches to fundamental science – we are thrilled to see real research happening with access to IBM Q technology.
IBM had always wanted to offer a quantum computer via the cloud to the public, to provide an accessible platform for investigating how to compute using the full power of nature. IBM Q Experience was the first time quantum computing came out of the lab, and we really didn’t know what to expect. But we thought it was essential to the technology’s maturation that we create a community of scientists and developers and provide them with open-source tools to tap into the power of quantum computing. Our goal was to invite anyone interested to create algorithms and run experiments on IBM’s quantum systems, play with individual quantum bits (qubits), learn about quantum computing through tutorials and simulations, and get inspired by the possibilities of a quantum computer.
“Today, more experiments are run on IBM Q Experience hardware than its 32-qubit simulator. It’s a testament to the value of both, and what only IBM offers: we still have a lot to learn about how quantum computers work, and as more of the community increases its understanding, the more valuable their research on real hardware becomes.”
We offer a new way to do research that sets the stage for how quantum computing will be consumed as it becomes more pervasive. IBM Q Experience has become the place to do productive work, it’s not just a sandbox. We’re giving people real tools they can use to develop quantum computing algorithms and applications. Our platform is the most advanced in terms of giving users access to real quantum processors as well as quantum simulators, all through the same platform.
Circuits and Qiskit Notebooks
The IBM Q Experience beta offers its community the opportunity to write and execute code to run on real quantum hardware and graphically compose and optimize quantum circuits, the sets of instructions given to a quantum computer. Users can work with circuits to develop algorithms, save and share experiments, and access quantum computing resources from a single browser.
We now provide an improved fully integrated quantum circuit composer. Our new Circuit Composer feature lets you build more complex quantum circuits than ever before to run on a variety of simulators and IBM Q physical quantum systems. Visualization tools show you changes in the simulated quantum states of the qubits as you compose your circuit. When you program with the text editor, you can watch your circuit change graphically in real time.
Shortly after launching IBM Q Experience, we started building Qiskit as an open-source framework to enable an even larger number of ways to program quantum – from circuits to algorithms. Our revamped IBM Q Experience beta now gives the quantum developer community a way to work with Qiskit in the cloud using Jupyter Notebooks directly within a single environment, which help organize experiments and work in one place. No separate installs. No additional code to write. Just open up Qiskit notebooks and start writing your quantum programs wherever you are. Come back to it whenever you like. And share it with whomever you like, as well.
Science and the industry have begun exploring near-term applications where a quantum computer can be used alongside a classical computer to solve specific problems. These quantum computing pioneers will be the first to see the technology’s true potential, and IBM will be there to fully support their efforts. Over the next few years the effects of quantum computing will reach beyond the research lab. The technology will be used extensively by new categories of professionals and developers looking to solve problems considered unsolvable using classical computers.
We will continue to expand and improve IBM Q Experience, with updates to Qiskit and additional APIs catering to different users. IBM Q Experience will continue to be a one-stop shop for everything users need in a quantum computing platform.
Recent research by IBM and University of Notre Dame serves as a new use case for quantum computing, showing that qubit noise, typically an impediment to quantum computer use, can actually be an advantage over a classical computer for chemical simulations.
A key pillar for deploying IBM Quantum systems into the cloud is the ability to read out their quantum states with high fidelity in real time. This critical capability is made possible using special kinds of low-noise microwave amplifiers, known as quantum-limited amplifiers.
Last year we at IBM declared that in order to achieve quantum advantage within the next decade, we will need to at least double the Quantum Volume of our quantum computing systems every year. What better way to start this first full week of 2020 than by announcing that we have added our fourth data point to our progress road map and achieved a system demonstrating Quantum Volume of 32.