The race for quantum computing dominance is ongoing around the world, but IBM has beaten competitors everywhere by building the first standalone quantum computer. Quantum computing promises untold advancements in computing power, and leaders in the market could fundamentally change computing forever.
Richard Waters reports in the Financial Times on IBM’s achievement, writing:
IBM has built the first standalone quantum computer, packing some of the world’s most advanced science into a 9ft glass cube. But so far there is only one — and while IBM does not rule out one day selling such systems, its business plan calls for renting access to the hardware over the internet rather than shipping it to customers.
Until now, quantum computers, which harness the power of quantum mechanics to handle calculations that could eventually leave today’s machines in the dust, have existed only in disassembled form in research labs. They are made up of a number of elements: reinforced chambers to hold the quantum bits, or qubits, that handle the computation; tanks of liquid helium and other cryogenic equipment to keep the qubits at a temperature close to absolute zero; and racks of electronics to control the action of the qubits and “read” their output, all tied together by hundreds of yards of cabling.
Packaging all of this into the first integrated, general-purpose quantum computer “is an iconic moment” for IBM given its history as a systems company, said Dario Gil, chief operating officer at IBM Research.
Read more here.