IBM yesterday released a new breakthrough to commercialize quantum computers. In its new method, it simulates those molecules to use quantum computers. The new approaching in using quantum computers could cause chemistry and materials changes. Big Blue ever said in the Nature that this breakthrough is going to deepen our understanding about those complicated chemical reactions. Well, IBM also said that this could make the practical applications real, such as personalized drugs’ development, more efficient, sustainable energy resource discovery, and new materials.
Quantum computing is a very new method of making computation with quantum bits, which is different from conventional bits. A quantum bit (qubit) can be a zero, or a zone, or both. By using qubits can make machines do a great number of computations at the same time, making quantum computers proficient in certain processing. The company has spent years in researching this new computing, and with this breakthrough, it is beginning to report much more progress on it.
Specifically, IBM researchers developed an algorithm to use a 7-qubit quantum processor, but they actually used 6 qubits to measure the lowest energy state of BeH2 (Beryllium hydride), which is an important measurement for learning the chemical reactions. Up till now, that should be the largest molecule simulated on quantum computers. Although IBM said that classical computers can also simulate BeH2, its new approach is possible to scale up to investigate larger molecules which cannot be performed on classical computers.
IBM Research’s vice president of AI research & IBM Q, Dario Gil said in a statement that quantum mechanical is what they are proving, and the company has the potential to utilize quantum computers to enhance their knowledge about the world’s natural phenomena. In the next few years, the company hopes its IBM Q’s capabilities to go beyond those conventional computers, and can become a practical tool for the experts in chemistry, health care, materials science, biology, and etc.
In order to showcase how proficient that quantum computers are in simulating molecules, IBM Q users and developers now can access an open source quantum chemistry, Jupyter Notebook, which is available via an open access QISKit, allowing users to try to find out a way of ground state energy simulation for the small molecules. In 2016, IBM announced IBM Q experience with a 5-qubit quantum computer on cloud and recently it has been upgraded to a 16-quabit computer and now it is available for beta access.
At present, chemistry is just one of the examples of a wide range of issues which quantum computers are possibly well-suited to handle. About the quantum application in the future, the company anticipates that some certain part of an issue is dealt with on a conventional computer, and the other computationally hard tasks could be off-loaded to the quantum computer. Besides, IBM partners with some commercial organizations to explore practical quantum applications via IBM Research Frontiers Institute.