In Brief
IBM is giving the world free access to a five-qubit quantum computing processor located in New York, so researchers can run experiments from anywhere in the world for free.

Understanding Quantum Computing

Despite being a buzzword in tech for a while now, quantum computing, at best, is still only understood in the most basic sense by most of the public. To be fair, it’s a very confusing field of computing that has, thus far, been reserved for only the most hardcore academics.

But perhaps the public’s inability to fully grasp the potential of quantum computing, and how it works, is due to the fact that the technology has largely been inaccessible; if that is the case, all could soon change. IBM just announced the launch of their quantum computing cloud service. What’s more? They’re giving people access to this online service for free.

IBM is basically offering the use of a five-qubit quantum computer located at a research facility in Yorktown Heights, New York and access can be obtained via the internet using a simple software interface. Because it is still only running on a single quantum chip, IBM is instituting a schedule system that can systematically set tests in sequence.

Once a test has been completed, it will send out the result of the experiment via email.

What’s It All For?

“We want to basically get the community thinking there,” said Jerry Chow, manager of IBM’s experimental quantum computing group.

This move allows the greater public to test out infrastructure that has only been accessible to blue chip organizations and major research labs. And while the company is trying to simplify the entire process, so that even newbies can take a crack at the technology, the availability of the service is more meaningful to researchers around the world who now have the access to technology that could, hopefully, bring quantum computing at a larger scale.

Depending on how this new service is received, IBM will work towards making more quantum infrastructure accessible to the public. “We want to start, and we want to see how the community reacts to this,” Chow concludes.