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IBM offers a peek at the future of quantum computing with the Q System One

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By Michael Archambault


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Quantum computing may either be seen as a buzzword or the real future of computing. Able to handle data in a completely different way than standard computer systems, quantum computing promises to help us solve challenging problems across various fields. Now, IBM, one company that is invested in the future of quantum technology, has unveiled what it calls the first fully integrated commercial quantum computer, the Q System One, at CES 2019. The system is the first to fully integrate high-precision electronics and cryogenic cooling into a stand-alone system

The Q System One designed by IBM allows quantum computing to be run outside of the confines of a lab environment — a first for quantum computers, which typically require particular environmental conditions to operate. Working together with a team of industrial designers, architects, and manufacturers, IBM sealed the machine within an airtight environment suited to running the needed hardware. Without a tightly controlled environment, the quantum bits (qubits) used to perform computations can see a drop in performance.

Everything from vibrations caused by ambient noise to temperature fluctuations to electromagnetic waves can cause qubits to lose their needed properties for computation, all within 100 microseconds. As a result, the Q System One uses a series of independent frames, made from both aluminum and steel, to unify specific aspects of the machine while also isolating the system’s cryostat, electronics, and exterior casing.

IBM designed the Q System One in partnership with industrial and interior design studios Map Project Office, Universal Design Studios, and Goppin. Q System One is 9 feet tall and 9 feet wide, and is protected by a borosilicate glass enclosure. If access to the system is needed for maintenance, a motor-driven system can unseal the enclosure — IBM touts this as an integral feature for commercial environments.

IBM has also announced that it will be opening a Q Quantum Computation Center later this year in Poughkeepsie, New York. The center will allow members of the IBM Q Network to access some of the most advanced cloud-based quantum systems in the world. If you’re interested in playing around with quantum computing yourself, be sure to check out IBM’s website for a demo.


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