My Very First Quantum Computing Experience
I just received an invitation for IBM's quantum computer access. I registered and tried and it turned out the experience is a little (well, sort of) different from what I expected. They first gave me a little 101 and explained quantum bits and basic laws of quantum physics. If you know some abstract algebra and are familiar with vectors, spaces, and tensor products, the introduction could make sense.
Then I was directed to the graphical user interface the IBM team built for programming their quantum computers. The computer is definitely a computer. But it's more like the computer you see in your college computer architecture class. You program the computer by placing bits through a series of logical gates. Then the outcome is measured. A probability distribution of possible states (like 1011, 0011, 0000, ....) is displayed. In a classical computer, the states should be deterministic. However, in the quantum world, the outcome is a probability distribution of states.
Well, the computer is not in the form most people are familiar with. You can't program it by writing high-level programming language code. I suspect that there are still years or even decades before we can get to that point. But it's a nice start!