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IBM’s new quantum computer will be available through the cloud

Quantum computing promises to transform how we tackle some of the world’s most complex and pressing problems, from global warming, to financial inequality and world hunger.

Now, IBM has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first “integrated universal quantum computing system” designed for scientific and commercial use.

At CES this week, the US tech giant showcased a replica of the system (pictured), which will be accessible through the cloud. It represents, IBM claims, the most advanced cloud-based quantum computing programme ever developed.

“The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialisation of quantum computing,” said Arvind Krishna, director of IBM Research. “This new system is critical in expanding quantum computing beyond the walls of the research lab as we work to develop practical quantum applications for business and science.”

The system has been enclosed in an air-tight glass box designed by an Italian manufacturer of display cases, including those that protect the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. This isn’t just for aesthetic value; the glass casing aims to “maintain the quality of qubits used to perform quantum computations”, says IBM, and improve reliability.

IBM also announced this week that it would be opening the IBM Q Quantum Computation Center in Pughkeepsire, New York State, the third such site opened by the firm. The technology housed within it will be made available to the IBM Q Network, which includes Fortune 500 companies, startups and research labs.