IBM is done playing with its old computer, so. The tech giant is offering access to a five-qubit quantum processor to anyone.
By exploiting the weirdness of quantum mechanics, quantum computers can store and process information as qubits, which can be a mixture of 0 and 1 at the same time. This allows them to far surpass conventional computers in certain tasks.
IBM is working on computers with tens of qubits, so is putting its now-unneeded smaller chip (pictured above) online. “We want to make it accessible to people who might not know much about quantum computing, but are interested in learning about it,” says Jerry Chow of IBM Research in New York.
The firm is following in the footsteps of the University of Bristol, UK, whichin 2013.
You can, so-named because the interface resembles a musical score (pictured below). Tutorials explain how to drag and drop different quantum logic gates to create an algorithm, which can then be run on the chip sitting in IBM’s lab.
Last year(IARPA) to develop a 17-qubit device capable of running error-correction codes, which are essential for creating larger, useful machines.
Chow hopes that both the general public and expert users will try programming the online device, giving his team data that will inform research on larger computers.
“We want to see where things don’t work as well, and the stability of the experiment over time,” he says. “We’re keen to be surprised by the algorithms external users are trying.”
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