IBM predicts a turning point in quantum computing

Isbel Lázaro.


Inspenet, December 30, 2023.

Earlier this month, IBM announced the launch of its “Condor” quantum processor , which has 1,121 qubits. This processor represents the largest in terms of number of qubits within the company and, possibly, the most advanced gate-based superconducting quantum system in the world. Accompanying the new chip, the company also shared an updated roadmap and extensive details about the company’s future plans in the quantum computing space.

The 1,121-qubit processor marks the high point of IBM’s previous roadmap, succeeding the 433-qubit “Osprey” processor launched in 2022 and the 127-qubit “Eagle” processor from 2021.

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In the realm of quantum computing, the number of qubits is not necessarily perceived as a direct measure of power or capacity, but rather as an indicator of potential. Although in theory more qubits should eventually lead to more powerful systems, the industry’s current focus is on error correction and fault tolerance.

Currently, IBM considers its experiments with 100-qubit systems to represent the standard, and much of its current efforts are aimed at increasing the number of quantum gates that processors can operate with.

For the first time we have hardware and software capable of running quantum circuits without a known a priori answer at the scale of 100 qubits and 3,000 gates ,” writes Jay Gambetta, an IBM fellow and vice president of quantum computing, in a recent blog post.

IBM predicts quantum tipping point in 2029

Gates, like qubits, represent a potential indicator of the usefulness of a quantum system. The ability to implement more gates on a processor allows the system to perform additional complex functions.

According to IBM, its 100-qubit quantum systems are now considered computational tools as they reach the scale of 3,000 gates. The next significant “tipping point,” according to the blog post, is scheduled for the year 2029, when IBM plans to run “100 million gates on 200 qubits” with a processor called “Starling.”

This is followed by Blue Jay, a system capable of running 1 billion gates on 2,000 qubits by 2033 ,” Gambetta wrote.

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