IBM develops prototype 50 qubit processor

IBM develops prototype 50 qubit processor”

In the case of the 50-qubit system, the quantum state was only maintained for 90 microseconds.

Clients will have online access to the computing power of the first IBM Q systems by the end of 2017, with a series of planned upgrades during 2018.

Quantum computing is a difficult area of technology to understand. Our goal with both the IBM Q experience, and our commercial program is to collaborate with our extended community of partners to accelerate the path to demonstrating a quantum advantage for solving real problems that matter.

"We are really proud of this; it's a big frickin' deal", IBM's director for AI and quantum computing Dario Gil, who made Friday's announcement, told the MIT Technology Review. Within just 18 months, the company brought online 5 and 16 qubit systems which clients can use to explore practical applications.

"We at Volkswagen want to be among the first to use quantum computing for corporate processes as soon as this technology is commercially available".

Besides the new processors, IBM is also updating its QISKit, which is an open-source software development kit meant for programming and running quantum computers that was released earlier this year. Through the IBM Q experience, over 60,000 users have run over 1.7M quantum experiments and generated over 35 third-party research publications. These improvements include coherence times - the amount of time it takes to perform quantum computations - that are twice as fast as its predecessors, as well as superior connectivity and packaging. These machines process information in a different way from traditional computers, using the counterintuitive nature of quantum physics. "In prior years, the course was interesting theoretically, but felt like it described some far off future", said Andrew Houck, professor of electrical engineering, Princeton University. "Now, our enrollments are skyrocketing, drawing excitement from top students from a very wide range of disciplines". He says that IBM researchers have managed to achieve the higher qubit number with low error rates, making them highly useful to researchers. "Simulators don't currently capture the nuances of the actual quantum hardware platforms, and nothing is more convincing for a proof-of-concept than results obtained from an actual quantum processor". However, the 50-qubit version moves beyond that. Similar tutorials are also provided that detail implementation of optimization problems such as MaxCut and Traveling Salesman on IBM's quantum hardware. This is because quantum computers become exponentially more powerful as more qubits are added thanks to a phenomenon called "entanglement", which relates to the ability of qubits to correlate with each other so that each one is aware of the state of all of the others.

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