IBM put some more meat on its roadmap and plans to commercialize quantum computing for enterprises. For now, developers will get APIs and a software developer kit to play with qubits.
IBM is launching and application programming interface (API) and software developer kit for public access to quantum computing via IBM Cloud. The company also outlined plans to make commercial quantum computing systems in the next few years.
The move is the latest in IBM’s effort to commercialize quantum computing. Quantum computing is the use of quantum theory and using subatomic particles to store information. Quantum computing is expected to be much faster than today’s systems and capable of performing any tasks.
Last year, IBM launched the Quantum Experience, which enabled developers to run algorithms and experiments on the company’s quantum processor and work with individual quantum bits, or qubits. Here’s a look at the Quantum Experience and formulating a task.
With the API, IBM Cloud will give developers a portal and access to a 5 qubit quantum computer. IBM is hoping developers will use the tool to build interfaces and experiment.
IBM also updated its quantum simulator to experiment with up to a 20 qubit computer. Big Blue sees quantum computing impacting everything from drug and materials discovery to logistics to financial services. There will also be implications for machine learning and artificial intelligence and cloud security.
According to the company, a full SDK on the IBM Quantum Experience will be available in the first half of 2017.
To commercialize quantum computing, IBM said it will build IBM Q systems with about 50 qubits “in the next few years.” These systems would give IBM an asset that it could use to engage industry and develop applications. However, the most likely model for quantum computing consumption is likely to be delivered via the cloud.
To date, 40,000 users have run more than 275,000 experiments on IBM’s Quantum Experience.