Quantum computing is still an esoteric field of research, but in essence, it’s focused around the principle of the qubit or quantum bit. While bits in regular computers are only capable of representing information as 1s or 0s, quantum bits can be 1s, 0s, or both at the same time. This is known as the superposition principle and — in theory — will allow quantum computer of the future to be exponentially more powerful than current devices.
IBM has opened up its quantum computing research to the web, launching an online simulator that lets anyone run quantum experiments on the company’s hardware. Means you can access the machine over the Internet via a simple software interface—or at least it’s simple if you understand the basics of quantum computing. This new service is hardly something the everyday consumer will use, but it’s a big deal for the many researchers now working to build a practical quantum computer—a computer that moves beyond just 1s and 0s to become exponentially more powerful than today’s machines.
The service is a way for IBM to show off its quantum computer, to have outsiders verify and approve its work—something that’s particularly important when you’re dealing with the hard-to-pin-down dynamics of quantum systems. But David DiVincenzo, a professor at the Institute for Quantum Information at RWTH Aachen University and one of quantum computing’s earliest pioneers, believes the service will lead to more.
“I think that someone out there will learn things about the behavior of this quantum computer,” he says, “that its developers never thought of.”
— Alessio Ciurluini (@aleciu) May 4, 2016
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