Quantum computing isn’t rocket science, although it still has a long way to go before it gets the attention it deserves. Using the quantum states of subatomic particles to store data, quantum computers are said to have the potential to solve problems beyond the reach of classical computers – which use transistors and capacitors.
The field started gaining momentum in the 80s with the works of Paul Benioff, Yuri Manin, Richard Feynman, and David Deutsch – the father of quantum computing. Since then, a lot of research organizations and companies like D-Wave and IBM have worked on advancements in the field.
At CES 2019, IBM introduced to the world the first commercial quantum computer – the IBM Q System One. The thing about this computer is that it’s operable outside the research lab – the environment it was built in.
The computer is enclosed in a 9’ glass cube supported by steel and aluminium frames and the whole cryogenic setup is cooled and maintained at a particular temperature. It saw its first test run in the summer of 2018 in Milan, Italy.
The IBM Q System One is cloud-based and runs on a 20-qubit processor, while Google is currently the front-runner with its 72-qubit Bristlecone processor.
While a bit can only be either 1 or 0, a qubit (quantum bit) can have both 1 and 0 in quantum superposition. A quantum computer is highly sensitive as qubits lose their quantum states within microseconds.
Later this year, IBM will open its Q Computational Center in New York to allow select companies, academic institutions and research labs to use its quantum computers.
The future of computing does seem to be quantum, although you may or may never find a quantum computer on your desk.