IBM 53 Qubit Cloud Accessible Quantum Computer and Nextbigfuture Interviews Bob Sutor, VP – IBM Q Strategy

Today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced the opening of the IBM Quantum Computation Center in New York State. The new center expands the world’s largest fleet of commercial quantum systems existing beyond the confines of experimental lab environments. This includes five 20-qubit systems with a Quantum Volume of 16 – a measure of the power of a quantum computer – demonstrating a new milestone in quality and reproducibility. Within one month, IBM’s commercially available quantum fleet will grow to 14 systems, including a new 53-qubit quantum computer, the single largest universal quantum system made available for external access in the industry, to date.

Nextbigfuture Interview with Bob Sutor, VP – IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem at IBM Research

IBM new quantum systems will start at the same Quantum Volume as its previous cloud quantum system. The new 53-qubit quantum computer will have its Quantum Volume increased as more refinements and testing is made over the next few months.

IBM is making various software available at Qiskit.

Question – What is the future vision of Quantum solutions?

The quantum software and hybrid solutions that IBM is creating will become a development and solution stack. They already offer libraries of quantum algorithms and application-specific code.

The famous Shor’s algorithm for factoring numbers is a hybrid classical and quantum solution. It has three parts and two are classical algorithms.

IBM is optimizing quantum compilers and creating the tools and code that can be used by users with different levels of capabilities.

Qiskit Aqua contains a library of cross-domain quantum algorithms and user libraries.

How Will Users Interact With The Quantum Solution Stack and Development Environment

Users will interact with quantum solution systems like the app environment on smartphones and tablets or like the statistical solution packages (like SAS and SPSS).

There will be people who just use packages, functions or apps that are automated to identify data and process it into a result.

There will be people who use the packages and functions in more sophisticated and customized ways. These would be power users.

There will be developers who create new programs. These would be a mix of classical and quantum code. They would leverage coding libraries.

There will be developers and researchers who create new algorithms and optimize solutions.

How Long Until Quantum Supremacy is Reached?

Quantum computers that are faster than classical systems could be reached in 3 to 5 years.

What are the Most Interesting Quantum Application Areas at this Time?

There are three main use case areas:
1. Quantum chemistry
2. Quantum finance and financial services
3. AI and machine learning

Quantum chemistry has research into new and better batteries. Later there will pharmaceutical drug discovery and new material discovery.


Qiskit Terra provides the foundational roots for our software stack. Within Terra is a set of tools for composing quantum programs at the level of circuits and pulses, optimizing them for the constraints of a particular physical quantum processor, and managing the batched execution of experiments on remote-access backends. Terra is modularly constructed, simplifying the addition of extensions for circuit optimizations and backends.

Qiskit Aer provides a high-performance simulator framework for the Qiskit software stack. It contains optimized C++ simulator backends for executing circuits compiled in Qiskit Terra, and tools for constructing highly configurable noise models for performing realistic noisy simulations of the errors that occur during execution on real devices.

Qiskit Aqua contains a library of cross-domain quantum algorithms upon which applications for near-term quantum computing can be built. Aqua is designed to be extensible, and employs a pluggable framework where quantum algorithms can easily be added. It currently allows the user to experiment on chemistry, AI, optimization and finance applications for near-term quantum computers.

Qiskit Ignis is a framework for understanding and mitigating noise in quantum circuits and systems. The experiments provided in Ignis are grouped into the topics of characterization, verification and mitigation. Characterization experiments are designed to measure noise parameters in the system. Verification experiments are designed to verify gate and small circuit performance. Mitigation experiments run calibration circuits that are analysed to generate mitigation routines that can be applied to arbitrary sets of results run on the same backend.

More on IBM Quantum Computers

A global community of users have run more than 14 million experiments on IBM’s quantum computers through the cloud since 2016, and published more than 200 scientific papers. To meet growing demand for access to real quantum hardware, ten quantum systems are now
online through IBM’s Quantum Computation Center. The fleet powers a community of over 150,000 registered users, and is accessible to Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical

To meet this growing demand for access to real hardware, IBM has opened the IBM Quantum Computation Center to significantly broaden IBM’s existing quantum computing program, which provides cloud-accessible hardware and open source software for research and commercial use. IBM’s quantum systems are optimized for the reliability and reproducibility of multi-qubit operations. Due to these factors, IBM’s systems enable state-of-the-art quantum computational research for science with a 95 percent service availability.

“Our global momentum has been extraordinary since we put the very first quantum computer on the cloud in 2016, with the goal of moving quantum computing beyond isolated lab experiments that only a handful organizations could do, into the hands of tens of thousands of users,” said Dario Gil, Director, IBM Research. “The single goal of this passionate community is to achieve what we call Quantum Advantage, producing powerful quantum systems that can ultimately solve real problems facing our clients that are not viable using today’s classical methods alone, and by making even more IBM Quantum systems available we believe that goal is achievable.”

The IBM Quantum program supports deep partnerships with nearly 80 commercial clients, academic institutions and research laboratories to explore and develop quantum computing algorithms for real business use cases. Advances in quantum computing could open the door to future scientific discoveries such as new medicines and materials, vast improvements in the optimization of supply chains, and new ways to model financial data to make better investments. Examples of our work with clients and partners, include:

* J.P. Morgan Chase and IBM posted on arXiv, Option Pricing using Quantum Computers, a methodology to price financial options and portfolios of such options, on a gate-based quantum computer. This resulted in an algorithm that provides a quadratic speedup, i.e. whereby classically computers need millions of samples, our methodology requires only a few thousands of samples to achieve the same result, when comparing to classical Monte Carlo methods. This may allow financial analysts to perform the option pricing and risk analysis in near real-time. The implementation is available as open-source in Qiskit Finance. 

* Mitsubishi Chemical, Keio University and IBM simulated the initial steps of the reaction mechanism between lithium and oxygen in lithium-air batteries. Available on arXiv, Computational Investigations of the Lithium Superoxide Dimer Rearrangement on Noisy Quantum Devices, is a first step in modeling the entire lithium-oxygen reaction on a quantum computer. Better understanding this interaction could lead to more efficient batteries for mobile devices or automotive vehicles.

* The IBM Q Hub at Keio University, in collaboration with their partners Mizhuo, and Misubishi Financial Group (MUFG) proposed in the arXiv pre-print, Amplitude Estimation without Phase Estimation, an algorithm that reduces the number of qubits and circuit length of an original methodology proposed by IBM for quantum risk analysis demonstrated in financial applications.

To learn more about IBM Quantum, visit

SOURCES – IBM Research, Interview with Bob Sutor, VP – IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem at IBM Research
Written By Brian Wang,


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