Two Fridays ago, Nature Magazine published a commentary from researchers at Google arguing that quantum computing technologies should be commercialized in the next few years. This is much earlier than experts expect a fully error-correcting functional quantum computer to be available. And then with the timing of a phase-locked generator, the following Monday morning IBM threw down the gauntlet and announced that it will roll out a commercial quantum computing cloud service this year. This announcement came with a brand new program, called IBM Q, that will offer system access for a fee. It builds on IBM's development of the Quantum Experience, a real 5-qubit processor that you, yes you, can access for free on the internet (and which yours truly will eventually blog about). This was widely covered in the layman press, and you can watch IBM VP of Science & Solutions Dario Gil explain on CNBC, or read coverage from the Financial Times, Wired, Fox News, CNET, and TechCrunch to name a few. Besides launching the IBM Q brand, IBM is also announcing:
- An application programming interface (API) for the Quantum Experience, allowing software developers to access the 5-qubit computer
- A software development kit (SDK) for the Quantum Experience as well
- An upgraded simulator that can model circuits up to 20 qubits
- The promise of an eventual roadmap for commercial quantum computing
And then, just to top things off, the cover story of this week's issue of The Economist is on quantum technologies, as the focus of their Technology Quarterly review. Besides quantum computing, it includes potential advances arising from the other developing quantum technologies, cryptography and sensing. They do a good job of bringing these esoteric research fields to the public mind. And as a consequence, expect many others to look into making money out of quantum physics.