Pioneering the Quantum Leap

Pioneering the Quantum Leap

Top physics conference reveals how IBM’s Quantum Computing efforts are changing tomorrows scientific research

IBM has been at the forefront of Quantum Computing. They are one of the few top-end players who have actually developed workable quantum computers. And this year, American Physical Society’s March Meeting 2021 – the world’s largest physics conference – showed how the work IBM is doing on quantum hardware are proving to be catalytic in accelerating discoveries across scientific research. This phenomenon has been comprehensively covered in a recent IBM blog, which revealed that IBM’s quantum systems powered 46 non-IBM presentations in the conference. And in each these papers demonstrated how the IBM innovation helped discover new algorithms, simulate condensed matter and many-body systems, explore the frontiers of quantum mechanics and particle physics, and push the field of quantum information science forward overall.

This was only to be expected, though. As quantum computers extend our computational capabilities, they are expected to extend our ability to push science forward. The chief reason being computation is central to how scientific methods are carried on today. High-performance computing resources help researchers generate hypotheses, find patterns in large datasets, perform statistical analyses, and even run experiments faster than ever before. This is where quantum changes the game. Involving a completely different computational paradigm — something that works with logic entirely different from classical computers — opens up novel avenues of thinking from the scientists using the machine.

What IBM offers?

IBM has developed universal quantum computing systems for scientists, engineers, developers, and businesses. Currently, they run a fleet of over two dozen full-stack quantum computing systems ranging from 1 to 65 qubits, based on the transmon superconducting qubit architecture. These quantum computing systems can be accessed through multiple channels – primarily the IBM Quantum Network including hubs, as well as through IBM industry partners and, of course, the IBM members. Through the Network, the Researchers Program, and the quantum programming tools available to the broader community, IBM offers a range of support in order to facilitate the research and discovery process. They engage in direct collaboration with quantum researchers, and encourage the open source community passionate to advance the field of quantum computation.

How science benefits

Through all these initiatives, the IBM quantum enterprise is furthering the cause of research and development all around the scientific fraternity. Let us take a quick glance at the list of beneficiaries – direct and indirect:

  • Promoting a quantum ecosystem: Quantum computing outfits across the industry are developing quantum systems in anticipation of this developing ecosystem. Access to these cloud-based computers will be of chief importance to three key developer segments: quantum kernel developers, quantum algorithm developers, and model developers. IBM aims to democratize access to quantum computing.
  • Harnessing the quantum advantage: The increasing adoption of IBM’s quantum computers as a platform for research by institutions outside of IBM, and the ability to access and run programs on these devices via Cloud is allowing novel approaches in physics and beyond.
  • Enabling quantum simulation: Researchers working on quantum computers are able to tackle problems with a simulator whose properties more closely align with the systems they wish to study. These cutting-edge studies would not have been possible on classical computers.
  • Quantum benchmarking: Quantum computing is still an emerging field. As it grows in complexity, researchers would need to work on methods to characterize and benchmark the performance of near-term quantum computers overall. IBM quantum devices are definitely setting the standards in this respect.
  • Exploring algorithms: IBM’s current quantum devices serve as the ideal testbed for teams looking for a system with which to develop hardware-aware algorithms. Quantum characteristics such as superposition, entanglement, and interference are expected to show new ways to solve traditionally difficult problems – leading to newer algorithms unique to quantum computing.

Even with their current limited capacities, quantum computers are offering an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the laws of physics. They are also providing a new lens through which researchers can approach problems in artificial intelligence, chemistry, biosciences, simulation, optimization, and any other field that might require extensive data crunching.

Anyone interested in the complete IBM blog can access it at:https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2021/04/quantum-accelerate-discoveries/

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