Although technologies such as Watson that at present run on classical computers can assist in finding insights and patterns hidden in huge amounts of prevailing data, quantum computers have the ability to provide solutions to significant challenges in which patterns cannot be observed as the data are not available and the probabilities of having to investigate to obtain the answer are highly extensive to be processed by classical computers at any point in time.
IBM, in March 2017, issued a statement about its first initiative to construct commercially obtainable universal quantum computing systems. “IBM Q” quantum systems and services will be provided through the IBM Cloud platform.
The design of the IBM Q systems enables overcoming the prevalent exponential and complex challenges in handling classical computing systems. The first and highly favorable application for quantum computing is proposed to be in the field of chemistry. Even simple molecules like caffeine have an exceptionally large number of quantum states such that all the traditional computing memory and processing power that researchers develop cannot overcome the difficulty.
Following are the difficulties that cannot be tackled by the existing computers but can be tackled by IBM Q systems:
- Artificial Intelligence—rendering various aspects of artificial intelligence (e.g. machine learning) highly effective when data sets are highly enormous, for example, searching videos or images
- Drug and Materials Discovery—unraveling the complexities of chemical and molecular interactions resulting in the formulation of new medicines and materials
- Supply Chain and Logistics—discovering the ideal path over global systems of systems to enable ultra-efficient logistics and supply chains, for example, enhancing fleet operations for transportation in the holiday season
- Cloud Security—enabling highly secure cloud computing by applying the quantum physics laws to improve safety of private data
- Financial Services—discovering innovative ways for modeling financial data and for identifying key global risk factors in order to make better investments
As an element of the IBM Q System, IBM has launched a new Application Program Interface (API) for the IBM Quantum Experience that allows programmers and developers to initiate the construction of interfaces between the prevalent five quantum bit (qubit) cloud-based quantum computer and classical computers, without necessitating an in-depth knowledge in quantum physics. In addition, IBM has launched an advanced simulator on the IBM Quantum Experience, with the ability to model circuits of up to 20 qubits. By June 2017, IBM intends to launch a full Software Development Kit (SDK) on the IBM Quantum Experience that will enable programmers and developers to construct simple quantum applications and software programs.
Using the IBM Quantum Experience, anyone can connect to IBM’s quantum processor through the IBM Cloud and can run experiments and algorithms, work with the individual quantum bits, and investigate simulations and tutorials in relation to the possible application of quantum computing.