Fraunhofer deploys IBM quantum computer with 27 qubits

The German research institute Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the first outside IBM to use IBM’s quantum computer Quantum System One. The quantum computer has a 27-qubit Falcon processor.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the first commercial customer of IBM’s 27 qubit quantum computer. In July, the University of Tokyo will also receive a Quantum System One and Cleveland Clinic in the US will also receive one in the near future.

The Fraunhofer has already tested the system and is being used for various research projects. A simulation is already being run on it for materials in energy storage systems and another research group will soon start research that uses the quantum computer for deep learning. The coming time will also be spent on training to use the shiny black quantum computer, which is contained in a glass box with extremely low temperatures inside to keep the qubits in their quantum state for longer.

Delivery of the quantum computer was delayed by the corona pandemic, which prevented IBM from flying the necessary personnel to Germany. Therefore, part of the remote computer had to be assembled with instructions by a team that had never built such a system before. The German engineers therefore first had to receive online training from the American team for weeks, for which the team had to work in the middle of the night, because of the time difference.

The Fraunhofer will not only use the quantum computer for its own use. Researchers and students from outside the institute can also request to use the Quantum System One, in the lab and via a cloud environment.

IBM is not the only company developing commercial quantum computers. Google and Microsoft are also working on that, and possibly Amazon too. In 2017, IBM said it wanted to offer quantum computers with 50 qubits within a few years, almost doubling the Quantum System One. It itself commissioned a 65-qubit computer in September last year. And by 2023, the company aims to have the first 1000 qubit computer ready. It will take some time before it is commercially available.

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