Inspenet, December 7, 2023.
IBM has introduced the most powerful of quantum computers, the first with more than 1,000 qubits. The company aims for this new machine and quantum computing chip to become fundamental components of considerably larger systems within ten years. However, the company has decided to modify its strategy, focusing on improving the error resistance of its machines instead of simply increasing their size.
IBM has been progressively increasing the number of qubits in its quantum computing processors each year, following a roadmap that aims to double that number annually. Its latest quantum processor, called Condor, has 1,121 superconducting qubits arranged in a hexagonal pattern.
As part of its innovative approach, the company has also introduced a new processor called IBM Quantum Heron, which has 133 fixed-frequency qubits and stands out for its exceptionally low error rate. This new architecture represents a significant improvement, offering up to five times greater error reduction. It is the first in a new series of utility-grade quantum processors, with an architecture meticulously developed over the past four years to deliver IBM’s leading performance metrics and the lowest error rates on record for any quantum processor. of IBM to date.
Error correction in quantum computing is an essential principle to overcome the noise and instability inherent in quantum systems. However, experts have pointed out that advanced error correction techniques require more than 1,000 physical qubits for every logical qubit that performs meaningful calculations. This requirement would mean that a quantum computer would need millions of physical qubits, considerably complicating the construction of a practical machine.
However, a new error correction strategy, called quantum low-density parity checking (qLDPC), has recently caught the attention of physicists. This technique is expected to reduce that number by a factor of 10 or more, according to a preprint from IBM researchers. Currently, IBM is focusing on developing chips that can accommodate a few qLDPC-corrected qubits, using around 400 physical qubits, and then interconnecting them to form a larger quantum system.
At the annual IBM Quantum Summit in New York, the computer technology and artificial intelligence giant introduced the IBM Quantum System Two, its first modular quantum computer and an essential component of IBM’s quantum-focused supercomputing architecture. The first IBM Quantum System Two, located in Yorktown Heights, New York, is now operational with three IBM Heron processors and supporting control electronics.
IBM’s plans for its quantum computers
With this strong foundation established, along with other advances in quantum hardware, theory and software, the company is extending its IBM quantum development roadmap to 2033, setting new goals to significantly improve the quality of gate operations. This would facilitate the execution of larger and more complex quantum circuits, allowing the potential of large-scale quantum computing to be fully exploited.
The company aims to achieve 5,000 door operations with the Heron processor by 2024, followed by new generations of processors with higher quality and a higher number of doors. By 2029, they aim for a significant achievement: performing 100 million gate operations on a 200-qubit Starling processor that uses the innovative Gross code for error correction.
Subsequently, Blue Jay, a system capable of executing one billion gate operations on 2000 qubits by 2033, will be presented. This roadmap will also demonstrate the technology that will enable the Gross code through l, myc couplers, which will be demonstrated by Flamingo, Crossbill and Kookaburra, respectively.
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