As Quantum Computing remains in infancy, the power of its growing potential is available to all of us now.

You may know the reasons why quantum computing has attracted so much excitement. Despite the enormous progress we’ve achieved as a society with “classical” computers, they simply don’t have enough memory or processing power to solve historically intractable problems. Quantum computers, working with classical computers via the cloud, could be the answer for at least some of these, for now.

 

Much of the promise of quantum computers will require something called “fault-tolerance,” a goal likely still a decade or more away. But these initial signs of a computational advantage can be acheived with nearer-term approximate quantum computers, which are coming online now. The IBM Q Network systems are the most advanced superconducting universal quantum computers anywhere in the world today. With these systems, scientists will continue to push the field towards the initial demonstrations of “quantum advantage” with applications in chemistry, optimization, and machine learning.

The applications of real-world quantum computing are endless. New drug formulas will be tested by a quantum computer in seconds rather than through years of expensive, complicated trials. Vaccines for pandemics could be formulated within hours of the disease being identified. Autonomous robots and nanobots will be capable of constructing off-world communities using “found” resources on other planets or moons. Business plans will show investors the likelihood of success or failure, saving trillions of dollars while focusing financial resources on the best possible startups. For instance, one of the IBM Q Network collaborators includes, JPMorgan Chase, which will explore how quantum computing might address the challenges of trading strategies, portfolio optimization, asset pricing, and risk analysis.

You get the idea.

Quantum Computers will change life as we know it.

This video shows the first IBM Q computation center, where the commercial quantum systems used by IBM Q Network live. The IBM Q network is a worldwide organization of industrial, research, and academic institutions joining IBM to advance quantum computing and launch the first commercial applications. Here, we see a 20 qubit system, which will be accessed online by members of the IBM Q network. In the future, they will have access to 50 qubit systems, which IBM recently prototyped.
 
In the video you’ll hear the tinkling whoosh the system makes as it maintains the ultra-cold, 50 milliKelvin temperature required for IBM’s superconducting cubits to operate. That’s colder than outer space, cold enough to make atoms almost completely motionless. This is an open dilution refrigerator that contains the cubits of niobium, silicon, and aluminum. It’s so dark and cold inside that it’s almost impossible to find even one photon of light. 

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Raymond Bechard

Raymond Bechard is an Author, Producer and Human Rights Advocate. For over 25 years he has worked to provide justice, tolerance and equality to people around the world.

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