(NYTimes) “Dario Gil, the head of IBM’s research lab in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., offered a tour of IBM’s quantum operation to a NYTimes news team. The trip started with an actual quantum computer, its innards exposed, on display in the lobby of the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. It looked a bit like a small, inverted Christmas tree: 3 feet high and a foot wide, a series of gold-colored platforms hanging one from another and adorned with chips, wires, mysterious capsules and gleaming, curled silver tubes.in a recent interview. “You would need to devote every atom of planet Earth to store bits to describe that state of that quantum computer. By the time you had 280 perfect qubits, you would need every atom in the universe to store all the zeros and ones.”
At the other end of a long curving corridor, sitting alone in its own room, was the real, working thing. Called IBM Q System One, it was encased in a 9-foot-wide cube of black glass and accessible only through 700-pound doors a half-inch thick, the better to seal in the cold and seal out the universe of noise and interference. “Q” is for quantum. Designed by an architectural firm to be as modern, intimidating and opaque as the future itself.
While System One went online in January 2019, a set of starter computers called IBM Q Experience has been available online for the last three years; anyone can log on and write and run programs on them. To date, Dr. Gil said, some 130,000 people have used it, running 17 million experiments and publishing some 200 papers. “I’m convinced there are more quantum computers working here than the rest of the world combined, in this building,” Dr. Gil said.
NOTE: The article and interview are extensive and discusses the science and the concept of quantum supremacy in detail. Worth the time to read.