IBM Research hooks up quantum processor to cloud for test drive

IBM's Quantum Experience can offer a qubit test drive via the cloud and overcome more than a few physical hurdles.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

IBM Research said that it is allowing its quantum computing processor to be available for experiments via the company's cloud services.

There won't be a charge for the quantum computing tryout. IBM Research has made a few quantum computing breakthroughs and sees the technology as the next generation of computing and supercomputing.

The effort, dubbed the IBM Quantum Experience, will allow users to run algorithms and experiments on Big Blue's quantum processor and work with individual quantum bits, or qubits.

Quantum computing is the use of quantum theory and using subatomic particles to store information. Quantum computing is expected to be much faster than today's systems and capable of performing any tasks. The catch is that no universal quantum computer exists today.

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By enabling quantum computing experiments on a desktop or mobile device, IBM is hoping to spread the word on the technology and what it can do.


IBM's Quantum Experience is based on one processor with five qubits running at the T.J. Watson Research Center in New York. IBM is betting that quantum processors in the next decade will be able to have 50 to 100 qubits. A quantum computer with 50 qubits would top any supercomupter available today.

What's interesting about IBM's Quantum Experience is that the company can offer it via the cloud and overcome more than a few physical hurdles. Quantum information can be damaged by heat and radiation so IBM sends signals via a cryogenic dilution refrigerator. In other words, you won't be stashing a quantum computer under your desk anytime soon.

Here's a look at the qubits and the cables with the input and output followed by the fridge that cools the superconducting qubits to -459 degrees Fahrenheit.


Via IBM Research software and a cloud interface users can experience quantum hardware. IBM is hoping its quantum via the cloud effort can expand the ecosystem and garner more insights for its research and development.

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