IBM boss Virginia "Ginni" Rometty is under pressure. The share price of their company has been going in the wrong direction for some time. The important topic of the future cloud computing is also dominated by other companies. At the CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the head of the company therefore tried a liberation strike: she presented the world's first commercially available quantum computer. This is of course not yet a product for the masses – which can already be seen in the dimensions: The airtight housing is square and each 2.80 meters long and wide. The actual quantum computer, in turn, is located in the middle of the building and was suspended for visual reasons in a kind of glass ball. The peculiarity: The quantum computer operating under the name "IBM Q System One" should be able to be used outside of a laboratory for the first time.
The best supercomputers are currently working even faster
However, considering the pure performance, the new development is not really a breakthrough. The IBM computer works with 20 Qbit. It is the smallest unit of information in a quantum computer. Unlike the bits known from normal computers, however, several calculations can each be carried out in parallel. Nevertheless, the quantum computer is currently not as fast as the previously used supercomputers. This would require 50 Qbit. So, if you like, the engineers at IBM still have a decent path to go. Nevertheless, the presentation of the "IBM Q System One" represents an important milestone. Now companies and research institutes can experiment with the new technology and already develop their first applications. The limits of the use of quantum computers can also be tested.
Some Industries May Benefit Especially
In fact, Volkswagen, for example, already uses appropriate approaches to be able to analyze and forecast traffic flows even more precisely. In any case, IBM CEO Rometty is convinced that the future belongs to quantum computers. The company's presentation video even mentions that quantum computers could eventually solve problems that currently seem far too complex. As always with new technologies, however, such promises are to be treated with caution. Experts have at least already identified some areas where quantum computers would be particularly helpful. These include pharmaceutical research, design engineering, logistics and finance. On the other hand, providers of encryption software must be careful. With a fully capable quantum computer, most of the previously used encryption would be easy to crack.