In the race to commercialize quantum computing, IBM is one of several companies leading the pack. Today, IBM announced it had signed JPMorgan Chase, Daimler AG, Samsung and a number of other corporations to its IBM Q Network, which provides online access to IBM’s experimental quantum computing systems. IBM is also establishing regional research hubs at IBM Research in New York, Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, Keio University in Japan, Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Twelve organizations in total will be using the IBM prototype quantum computer via the company’s cloud service to accelerate quantum development as they explore a broad set of industrial and scientific applications. Other partners include JSR Corporation, Barclays, Hitachi Metals, Honda, and Nagase.
Partners currently have access to the 20 qubit IBM Q system, which IBM announced last month, but Big Blue is also building an operational prototype 50 qubit processor, which will be made available in next generation IBM Q systems. The partners will specifically be looking to identify applications that will elicit a quantum advantage, such that they perform better or faster on a quantum machine than a classical one.
IBM leadership believes we are at the dawn of the commercial quantum era. “The IBM Q Network will serve as a vehicle to make quantum computing more accessible to businesses and organizations through access to the most advanced IBM Q systems and quantum ecosystem,” said Dario Gil, vice president of AI and IBM Q, IBM Research in a statement. “Working closely with our clients, together we can begin to explore the ways big and small quantum computing can address previously unsolvable problems applicable to industries such as financial services, automotive or chemistry. There will be a shared focus on discovering areas of quantum advantage that may lead to commercial, intellectual and societal benefit in the future.”
Experts from the newly formed IBM Q Consulting will be able to provide support and offer customized roadmaps to help clients become quantum-ready, says IBM.
With IBM Q, IBM seeks to be the first tech company to deliver commercial universal quantum computing systems for and in tandem with industry and research users. Although today marks the start of its commercial network, IBM has been providing scientists, researchers, and developers with free access to IBM Q processors since May 2016 via the IBM Q Experience. According to the company, 60,000 registered users have collectively run more than 1.7 million experiments and generated over 35 third-party research publications.
To see some really cool photos of IBM’s quantum computing technology, check out their flickr stream here (it’s really not to be missed).