IBM Issues A Public Challenge To Program Its Quantum Computers

While most of today's challenges seem to be related to COVID-19, this week IBM issued one of its own—one that has nothing to do with the pandemic. On May 4, 2016. IBM first made quantum computing accessible to the public. To celebrate the fourth anniversary of the occasion, the company decided to challenge the public to program its quantum computers.  

IBM quantum background

Over the past four years, IBM added a total of 18 quantum systems to its cloud service. Keeping one quantum machine calibrated and running is difficult. To maintain 18 of these advanced computers running around the clock is a fantastic engineering and operational feat.

How popular is this herd of quantum computers? Their collective usage statistics are staggering. IBM's quantum cloud has allowed 225,000 global users to run more than 175 billion quantum circuits. Moreover, IBM quantum computers have helped scientists write over 200 scientific research papers.

The challenge

The IBM Quantum Challenge begins May 4th and runs through May 8th. It consists of four exercises that range from super easy to difficult. There is no charge to participate or for quantum computer time. Just sign up for an account—it  doesn't make any difference if you are an experienced developer, a student or if you are just curious about quantum computing. In recognition of everyone's participation, IBM is awarding digital badges and providing additional sponsorship to the Python Software Foundation.

As an analyst, this challenge is not only good for IBM; it is also beneficial for the general public from an educational standpoint. It provides an inside look at the fundamentals of quantum computing with a non-threatening hands-on approach. As for myself, I'm all in. If you want to try the challenge, you can get more information here.

Patrick Moorhead

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.