IBM Introduces First Integrated Quantum Computing System for Commercial Use

IBM debuts the Q System One, an integrated quantum computing system made for commercial and research use, the first of its kind in the world.
John Loeffler

In a world first, IBM unveiled IBM Q System One at CES 2019, an integrated quantum computing system designed for commercial and general scientific use.

Modeling the World to Make Smarter Decisions

IBM aims to bring the promise of quantum computing to real-world challenges that classical computing struggles to solve.

IBM anticipates that Q System One will be harnessed to model financial data in ways we have never seen before, incorporating many more risk factors from around the world to facilitate better investments.

The hope is to prevent the kinds of unknown but predictable events that can wreak havoc on markets—so-called Black Swan events like the 2008 Financial Crisis that sent the world into the Great Recession.

Predicting these events are the kind of analytical challenge that is impossible for classical computing but which quantum computing is uniquely adept at solving.

In addition, IBM Q System One hopes to solve the kinds of logistics and supply chain optimization challenges that can take the most advanced classical supercomputer the lifetime of the Universe to solve.

This is no small thing. The cost savings from optimized supply chains represents trillions of dollars globally and this, more than anything, will likely be the very first task that IBM Q System One is used for.

“The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing," according to Arvind Krishna, Director of IBM Research and Senior Vice-President of Hybrid Cloud for IBM.

"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.”

Design of the Q System One

IBM Q System One, a 9-foot wide cube of glass and steel, builds off the design philosophy that IBM uses in its Mainframe and other systems. Featuring modular design, many different components come together to make it possible.


Special hardware had to be designed to stabilize and automatically recalibrate the system in order to provide repeatable and predictable qubits, a key hurdle that earlier quantum computers have struggled with.

Given the nature of the qubit, we cannot watch them work, we can only see the inputs and the results, so repeatability and predictability are often used as benchmarks for the quality of a quantum system.

In fact, it is often the only way for anyone to tell that a quantum system is actually doing something and isn’t just spitting out random values.

IBM also engineered compact, high-precision electronics in order to allow for precise control of large sets of qubits, allowing for more complex computational tasks, as well as engineering the kind of cryogenic environment necessary to isolate the qubits from interference from the outside.

All of this is made accessible through the cloud in a secure fashion, creating a hybrid environment for the implementation and execution of quantum computing algorithms.

Plans for IBM Q System One and Q Quantum Computation Center

The IBM Q System One will be part of the new IBM Q Quantum Computation Center, also announced at CES 2019, which allows members of IBM Q Network, a global collection of Fortune 500 corporations, academic institutions, research labs, and startups, to take advantage of quantum computing to advance the field of quantum computing and develop innovative applications using IBM Q System One.

While it will be a while before the rest of us start using quantum computers, IBM's unveiling of IBM Q System One and IBM q Computation Center at CES 2019 is a major step forward toward that future.

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