IBM’s new quantum machine belongs in a Prada store.

“Consultants included museum specialists Goppion, usually found protecting artwork and valuables in the world’s biggest art galleries, and the end result is crafted to perfection, moodily lit and set to crunch numbers like never before.” Yes, that’s a real line from an article in design magazine Wallpaper (See below) describing IBM’s new ‘Q System One’ quantum computer that walked the runway at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. But the system, which is cooly encased in the world’s finest half-inch-thick borosilicate glass, will not be sold to any of Big Blue’s Fortune 500 customers. Why then go through all the trouble of waxing on and on over the design of IBM’s new Super C? Some have suggested that it’s a PR stunt, pointing to IBM’s decision to unveil its latest quantum machine at a flashy consumer-focused electronics event rather than an enterprise or quantum conference. Perhaps that’s true, but there’s no denying that a big theme from this year’s CES is the convergence of consumer electronics and computing power. In that context, IBM’s decision to highlight its 20 qubits of supercomputing fabulousness speaks to its commitment to regaining a seat at the head table of powering the future.

This article was published as part of Weekly Briefing No. 156