IBM’s New Quantum Computer Exists Only in the Cloud

The new IBM Q System One quantum computer is designed to be reliable enough for business use.

IBM unveiled its new quantum computer system. (Getty Images)

IBM’s new Quantum computer, the Q System One, was unveiled at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — but it’s only accessible via IBM’s computing cloud.

The technology — which the company claims is the world’s first integrated universal quantum computing system for commercial use — is unique because instead of using a mess of wires to connect various electronic devices to a central quantum chip, it is a single tightly integrated system enclosed in an airtight, 9-feet-tall case, Technology Review reported.

Quantum computers are regarded as able to exceed the current performance of our most advanced supercomputers by harnessing the power of quantum bits, or qubits.

But, according to Technology Review, there’s one major drawback to relying on qubits to run commercial systems that require consistent stability. Qubits are particularly delicate and even the slightest vibration can collapse their extremely fragile quantum state. In an attempt to get around this foreseeable problem, the Q System One is encased in half-inch-thick glass to minimize external disturbances and metal supports to keep the cooling chamber, electronics, and casing separate.

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