(FinancialTimes) IBM’s standalone, 9 ft glass-cubed quantum computer announced at the Consumer Electronics Show is not for sale. So far there is only one — and currently IBM’s business plan calls for renting access to the hardware over the internet rather than shipping to customers. IBM does not rule out one day selling such systems.
Packaging all of this into the first integrated, general-purpose quantum computer “is an iconic moment” for IBM given its history as a systems company, said Dario Gil, chief operating officer at IBM Research. IBM’s history has been built on designing and building some of the most advanced computing systems of their time, starting with the 700 series of mainframes in the 1950s and the System/360, which pushed computing into the commercial world in the 1960s and 1970s.
IBM has always designed its flagship machines for effect. Notable landmarks include the menacing black obelisk of Deep Blue, the first computer to defeat a reigning human chess champion. By contrast, the first integrated quantum system has an eerie emptiness, with most of its components housed hidden at the back of the cube.
The system, called IBM Q System One, was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where a model was on display.