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Qiskit provider for accessing the quantum devices and simulators at IBMQ

Project description

Qiskit IBM Quantum Provider

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Qiskit is an open-source SDK for working with quantum computers at the level of circuits, algorithms, and application modules.

This module contains a provider that allows accessing the IBM Quantum systems and simulators.


We encourage installing Qiskit via the PIP tool (a python package manager), which installs all Qiskit elements and components, including this one.

pip install qiskit

PIP will handle all dependencies automatically for us and you will always install the latest (and well-tested) version.

To install from source, follow the instructions in the contribution guidelines.

Setting up the IBM Quantum Provider

Once the package is installed, you can access the provider from Qiskit.

Note: Since November 2019 (and with version 0.4 of this qiskit-ibmq-provider package / version 0.14 of the qiskit package) legacy Quantum Experience or QConsole (v1) accounts are no longer supported. If you are still using a v1 account, please follow the steps described in update instructions to update your account.

Configure your IBM Quantum Experience credentials

  1. Create an IBM Quantum Experience account or log in to your existing account by visiting the IBM Quantum Experience login page.

  2. Copy (and/or optionally regenerate) your API token from your IBM Quantum Experience account page.

  3. Take your token from step 2, here called MY_API_TOKEN, and run:

    from qiskit import IBMQ

    The command above stores your credentials locally in a configuration file called qiskitrc. By default, this file is located in $HOME/.qiskit, where $HOME is your home directory. If you are still using, please delete that file and run the command above.

Accessing your IBM Quantum Experience backends

After calling IBMQ.save_account(), your credentials will be stored on disk. Once they are stored, at any point in the future you can load and use them in your program simply via:

from qiskit import IBMQ

provider = IBMQ.load_account()
backend = provider.get_backend('ibmq_qasm_simulator')

Alternatively, if you do not want to save your credentials to disk and only intend to use them during the current session, you can use:

from qiskit import IBMQ

provider = IBMQ.enable_account('MY_API_TOKEN')
backend = provider.get_backend('ibmq_qasm_simulator')

By default, all IBM Quantum Experience accounts have access to the same, open project (hub: ibm-q, group: open, project: main). For convenience, the IBMQ.load_account() and IBMQ.enable_account() methods will return a provider for that project. If you have access to other projects, you can use:

provider_2 = IBMQ.get_provider(hub='MY_HUB', group='MY_GROUP', project='MY_PROJECT')

Updating to the new IBM Quantum Experience

Since November 2019 (and with version 0.4 of this qiskit-ibmq-provider package), the IBM Quantum Provider only supports the new IBM Quantum Experience, dropping support for the legacy Quantum Experience and Qconsole accounts. The new IBM Quantum Experience is also referred as v2, whereas the legacy one and Qconsole as v1.

This section includes instructions for updating your accounts and programs. Please note that:

  • the IBM Quantum Experience v1 credentials and the programs written for pre-0.3 versions will still be working during the 0.3.x series. From 0.4 onwards, only v2 credentials are supported, and it is recommended to upgrade in order to take advantage of the new features.
  • updating your credentials to the IBM Quantum Experience v2 implies that you will need to update your programs. The sections below contain instructions on how to perform the transition.

Updating your IBM Quantum Experience credentials

If you have credentials for the legacy Quantum Experience or Qconsole stored in disk, you can make use of IBMQ.update_account() helper. This helper will read your current credentials stored in disk and attempt to convert them:

from qiskit import IBMQ

Found 2 credentials.
The credentials stored will be replaced with a single entry with token "MYTOKEN"
and the new IBM Quantum Experience v2 URL (

In order to access the provider, please use the new "IBMQ.get_provider()" methods:

  provider0 = IBMQ.load_account()
  provider1 = IBMQ.get_provider(hub='A', group='B', project='C')

Note you need to update your programs in order to retrieve backends from a
specific provider directly:

  backends = provider0.backends()
  backend = provider0.get_backend('ibmq_qasm_simulator')

Update the credentials? [y/N]

Upon confirmation, your credentials will be overwritten with a valid IBM Quantum Experience v2 set of credentials. For more complex cases, consider deleting your previous credentials via IBMQ.delete_accounts() and follow the instructions in the IBM Quantum Experience account page.

Updating your programs

The new IBM Quantum Experience support also introduces a more structured approach for accessing backends. Previously, access to all backends was centralized through:


In version 0.3 onwards, the preferred way to access the backends is via a Provider for one of your projects instead of via the global IBMQ instance directly, allowing for more granular control over the project you are using:

my_provider = IBMQ.get_provider()

In a similar spirit, you can check the providers that you have access to via:


In addition, since the new IBM Quantum Experience provides only one set of credentials, the account management methods in IBMQ are now in singular form. For example, you should use IBMQ.load_account() instead of IBMQ.load_accounts(). An IBMQAccountError exception is raised if you attempt to use the legacy methods with an IBM Quantum Experience v2 account.

The following tables contains a quick reference for the differences between the two versions. Please refer to the documentation of each method for more in depth details:

Account management

<0.3 / v1 credentials >=0.3 and v2 credentials
N/A IBMQ.update_account()
IBMQ.save_account(token, url) IBMQ.save_account(token)
IBMQ.load_accounts() provider = IBMQ.load_account()
IBMQ.enable_account() provider = IBMQ.enable_account()
IBMQ.disable_accounts() IBMQ.disable_account()
IBMQ.active_accounts() IBMQ.active_account()
IBMQ.stored_accounts() IBMQ.stored_account()
IBMQ.delete_accounts() IBMQ.delete_account()

Using backends

<0.3 / v1 credentials >=0.3 and v2 credentials
N/A providers = IBMQ.providers()
backend = IBMQ.get_backend(name, hub='HUB') provider = IBMQ.get_provider(hub='HUB')
backend = provider.get_backend(name)
backends = IBMQ.backends(hub='HUB') provider = IBMQ.get_provider(hub='HUB')
backends = provider.backends()

Contribution Guidelines

If you'd like to contribute to IBM Quantum Provider, please take a look at our contribution guidelines. This project adheres to Qiskit's code of conduct. By participating, you are expect to uphold to this code.

We use GitHub issues for tracking requests and bugs. Please use our slack for discussion and simple questions. To join our Slack community use the invite link at For questions that are more suited for a forum we use the Qiskit tag in Stack Exchange.

Next Steps

Now you're set up and ready to check out some of the other examples from our Qiskit Tutorial repository.

Authors and Citation

The Qiskit IBM Quantum Provider is the work of many people who contribute to the project at different levels. If you use Qiskit, please cite as per the included BibTeX file.


Apache License 2.0.

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