IBM Sets Up First Quantum Computation Center For Commercial Clients

Jan 14, 2019

Some of the world’s most advanced computing capabilities will be housed at IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York — where IBM is building its first quantum computation center. For the first time, quantum computing will go outside a research lab and into commercial use. 

Scott Crowder is chief technology officer and vice president of Quantum Computing, Technical Strategy and Transformation, at IBM. Crowder is based at IBM’s Yorktown location, in Westchester County.

He says the IBM Q Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie will be available to members of the IBM Q Network, a worldwide community of leading Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science. Crowder turns to an example of counting chickens to differentiate between classical and quantum computing. He likens the classical way to using your fingers, so five chickens, five fingers. But quantum computing scales exponentially, and every bit added essentially doubles the size of computation power.

Crowder gives an industry example of how the quantum computation center could help in, say, simulating a molecule, and adding electrons to a molecule.

And there are other applications.

So why build this first type of quantum computation center in Poughkeepsie?

Crowder says he could not offer specifics, but that later this year means some time in the second half. Crowder declined to comment directly on job creation but offers a more general take.

At January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, IBM unveiled its Q System One™, the world's first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use. IBM also announced plans to open its first IBM Q Quantum Computation Center for commercial clients in Poughkeepsie. However, Crowder notes that the quantum computer is not exactly consumer electronics and it will be a very long time before a quantum computer becomes portable, if ever.