Quantum computing is supposed to bring radical changes to the way computers are built and work in the years to come, opening up a whole new world of possibilities. But with the technology still in its very early stages, Quantum computing has typically been the domain of academics, researchers and organizations like Google, Lockheed Martin and NASA.
But IBM wants that to change. Today, the company unveiled an online simulator that lets anyone run quantum experiments on its five-qubit quantum computer at a research lab in Yorktown Heights, New York. The online service will offer online tutorials to help people and companies understand how quantum systems work, visual simulations of quantum computing, and a game-like system that will parcel out access to the actual quantum computer for users to have their tests processed.
IBM hopes the service will lead to more interest in the field and pave the way for future development."It’s meant to be educational, but also to be the beginnings of a larger framework," IBM Quantum Computing Group manager Jerry Chow told The New York Times.
Today’s computers store data in extremely small transistors, which can hold a single bit in the form of a 1 or 0. Quantum computing instead takes advantage of a mechanic called superpositioning that allows a single quantum bit -- or qubit -- to store a 1 or 0 or both at the same time. The result, at least in theory, are exponentially more powerful computers than current devices that can be used to run complex simulations for anything from understanding DNA sequences to advance machine learning.