Although the quantum hardware is available thanks to D-Wave, it’s the first time a universal quantum computer is being offered up. The hardware available is limited in the kinds of computation D-Wave can achieve. While a universal quantum computer can tackle problems that are too big for a conventional system.
IBM is committing that over the coming years, the universal quantum computing systems will be available select industry partners. The company expects that the capabilities of hardware will increase as time goes on.
The target is to build a system with around fifty qubits. That should be capable of demonstrating the advantages of quantum computing over traditional methods. IBM will develop applications that utilize the power of the new hardware by collaborating with other companies.
“Classical computers are extraordinarily powerful and will continue to advance and underpin everything we do in business and society,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of IBM Systems. “But there are many problems that will never be penetrated by a classical computer. To create knowledge from much greater depths of complexity, we need a quantum computer.”
Besides, IBM is improving other areas of its quantum ecosystem. The company launched the IBM Quantum Experience in May 2016, offering online access to a five-qubit quantum computer. Which has since been used for hundreds of thousands of experiments performed by thousands of users.
Today, IBM is also releasing a new API. It is to simplify the procedure of creating an interface between the five-qubit quantum computer and classical computers. Also, the company is outfitting the online platform with a new simulator, which can simulate circuits with up to 20 qubits. An SDK is also going to be released in the first half of 2017 to help users create simple applications and software programs for use with the Quantum Experience.