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 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.