(VentureBeat) Robert Sutor, VP of IBM Quantum Ecosystem Development, spoke this week at the annual Inside Quantum Technology conference, which explores the business side of quantum computing. IBM has been one of the key players pushing the boundaries of quantum computing architecture. To accelerate this work, the company placed its quantum machines on a cloud-based platform designed to let partners experiment.
Since launching four years ago, IBM Q Network has attracted 106 members to its ecosystem, including large corporations and research centers. According to Robert Sutor, a vice president at IBM Research and head of Quantum Ecosystem Development, these partners are key to pushing the science ahead, as well as developing use cases where quantum computers can potentially make an impact.
Sutor said IBM recognized early on that the company couldn’t possibly address all the scientific and potential practical applications of quantum computing internally. “We have a very large quantum organization that is spread across IBM Research systems and IBM Services,” he said. “But we can’t do this all ourselves. So we needed to bring in other people in all aspects of this: to develop use cases, to advance the core research, to do the education, to kick off the startup economy. And so we started the Q network.”
In selecting partners, the company has created a specific business development process. IBM will talk to a company or government at the start to help them understand quantum computing and get the lay of the land. From there, IBM explains how the Q Network platform works, how partners can access it, and what support they get from IBM. Interest has been expanding, Sutor said.

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