The benefits of societal progress often follows a leap forward in mathematical understanding, followed by a technology that scales and applies this math. Starting today, Japan’s researchers have special access to one of the world’s most powerful quantum computers: The IBM Quantum System One. This superconducting quantum computer could lead to a big step forward for technology and society by scaling the mathematics behind quantum physics.
After launching a hub at Keio University in 2018, the University of Tokyo and IBM kicked off the Japan-IBM Quantum Partnership in 2019 to advance quantum computing across the country. As part of this partnership, researchers in Japan received an IBM Quantum System One, now installed in IBM’s facility at the Kawasaki Business Incubation Center, Kawasaki City. The aim of this partnership is to engage universities in Japan to accelerate quantum computing research and education, work with industry to advance research in practical quantum computing applications, and to research quantum computing hardware components.
Progress toward a quantum advantage
Quantum computing’s potential advantages lie in the new mathematical breakthrough in quantum algorithms. Often, science leads to societal progress in two key steps: First, there's a mathematical breakthrough; second, a technology incorporates and scales that mathematical breakthrough and makes it useful to people. Take as an example the breakthroughs of Isaac Newton—calculus and the foundation of classical mechanics. These abstract topics introduced new mathematical breakthroughs; but it was tools, such as the slide rule, that allowed scientists to apply the math and make new, groundbreaking discoveries and the scientific revolution.
Computing has seen a similar pattern of new math powering societal change. While algorithms have been used for centuries, modern algorithmic math emerged in the 1930s with the work of mathematicians like Alonzo Church and Alan Turing. Classical computers incorporated this math, and today, most of you carry a computer with you wherever you go.
We predict that quantum computers will lead to a similar scientific revolution. During the first few decades of the 20th century, mathematicians and physicists introduced intriguing Superfluids. Superconductors. Superposition. Read more about how quantum computers work.new concepts of quantum physics.
These included wave-particle duality, or particles taking on the behavior of waves; entanglement, where measurements of particles’ properties are more correlated than regular probability would allow; and interference, where the behavior of multiple particles can lead to certain measurements becoming more likely and other measurements becoming less likely, similar to how combining two waves can cancel each other out or create larger peaks.
Today, IBM Quantum is working to incorporate these mathematical breakthroughs into quantum computers—devices that may one day solve some of society’s biggest challenges. Potential applications could include creating more energy-efficient fertilizers and more advanced energy storage, building better financial models, and even developing new classes of antibiotics.
Thousands of meticulously engineered components have to work together flawlessly in extreme temperatures within astonishing tolerances. Experience the history of the breathtakingly intricate IBM Quantum System One.IBM Quantum System One is the world’s first integrated quantum computer system, allowing quantum computing to move out of IBM’s laboratories and onto the premises of clients and partners around the world. System One was designed to give users access to repeatable and predictable performance from high-quality qubits, consistent cryogenic temperatures, and high precision control electronics. Its quantum resources are tightly linked with classical processing to let users securely run algorithms requiring repetition of quantum circuits on the cloud.
Japan’s System One lives at the Kawasaki Business Incubation Center in Kawasaki City, from which the University of Tokyo will administer access.
Japan–IBM Quantum Partnership delivering quantum computing research, development and education ecosystem
Japan’s System One is part of the ongoing Japan-IBM Quantum Partnership, which is already exploring the frontiers of science with quantum computing. Scientists at Mitsubishi Chemical, part of the IBM Quantum Hub at Keio University, along with collaborators at Keio, the JSR corporation, and help from IBM Researchers, are developing new quantum algorithms to understand the complex behavior of industrial chemical compounds. Such compounds may have near-term applications for energy storage and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) devices.1
Meanwhile, Keio University, together with researchers from Mizuho Financial Group and the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, are improving an algorithm called amplitude estimation2 which may be useful for options pricing and related financial instruments. Finally, researchers at the University of Tokyo have teamed up with IBM at the University of Tokyo-IBM Quantum On June 6, 2021, IBM deployed Japan’s first quantum system testbed on the University of Tokyo campus, aiming to accelerate quantum system component development with Japanese industry. Watch IBM CEO Arvind Krishna discuss this installation at the Nikkei Global Digital Summit.Hardware Test Center, where academic and industry collaborators can research the next generation of quantum hardware components in order to push the overall field of quantum computing forward. Other companies, such as SONY, DIC, Toshiba, Toyota, Hitachi, SuMi Trust, and Yokogawa are also doing groundbreaking quantum research as part of the Quantum Innovation Initiative Consortium, announced last year.
IBM Quantum is committed to building a vibrant and diverse global quantum ecosystem. Crucial to this vision isn't just groundbreaking research, but also collaborations with government, research institutions, and businesses, workforce development, and education initiatives. All the while, our team is embedded in geographies around the world, including Japan, to introduce communities to tools such as the Qiskit software development kit in order to build local quantum expertise.
We hope that these steps will lead toward a more inclusive, sustainable, and knowledge-cherishing society; one that embraces the potential benefits of exciting new tools such as quantum computers to solve intractable problems. Partnerships such as the Japan-IBM Quantum Partnership certainly push us closer to that vision of the future.
- Gao, Q., Jones, G. Motta, M., et al. Applications of Quantum Computing for Investigations of Electronic Transitions in Phenylsulfonyl-carbazole TADF Emitters. arXiv. (2020).↩
- Suzuki, Y., Uno, S., Raymond, R. et al. Amplitude estimation without phase estimation. Quantum Inf Process 19, 75 (2020).↩