This is the first time a company achieves this, which gives a comparative advantage to IBM against Google and other technology companies involved in the highly competitive quantum “race”.
Quantum computers, still in their infancy, promise a computing speed much higher than today’s computers. This is because on today’s computers, the bit, the basic information unit, can either get the value ‘0’ or the value ‘1’. But the qubit, the elemental quantum information unit, can take the values ”0″, “1” or “0 and 1” at the same time.
IBM has announced that it has created a system with 20 quantum bits already for use and developed the first experimental IBM Q system with a 50 qubits processor.
The company has announced that its 20 qubits system will be available online to its customers by the end of 2017 in order to explore its practical implementation capabilities. The next generation of IBM’s quantum systems will incorporate the most powerful 50 qubits processor.
The first quantum computer made available online by IBM to anyone interested was in May 2016. In the meantime, the company has made further advances and seems to be ahead of developments by any other competitor. In addition to hardware, IBM continues to develop an entire “ecosystem” of quantum computing, including open source software and educational material for the quantum community of users.
Already, more than 60,000 users from around the world (universities, research centers, schools, etc.) have carried out more than 1.7 million online quantum experiments on IBM computers. At the same time, IBM collaborates with other companies (Samsung, Honda, Hitachi, Canon, etc.) to develop industrial and other practical quantum applications.