IBM unleashes record-breaking new quantum processor

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IBM has lifted the lid on a new 127-qubit quantum processor, which takes the record for the most powerful hardware in its class.

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Codenamed Eagle, the new quantum processor is described as the first processor of its kind whose performance cannot be reliably replicated by a classical computer.

To achieve this “breakthrough”, IBM used new qubit arrangement designs to reduce the error rate and the number of components required. More specifically, the firm placed control wires on multiple levels within the processor, while keeping the qubits on a single layer, enabling a larger total qubit count.

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At the IBM Quantum Summit, an annual event used to announce the latest developments in the field, the company explained that Eagle will play a key role in “tapping into the vast computing potential of devices based on quantum physics.”

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The new processor is immediately available for testing through IBM Cloud service, but only to a handful of members of the IBM Quantum Network.

127-qubit quantum processor

A qubit is the smallest unit of quantum information, equivalent to the binary bit of classical computing. Simply put, the higher the number of qubits, the more capable the quantum processor will be.

According to IBM, the launch of the new 127-qubit processor represents a significant advance toward quantum advantage, the point at which quantum systems outperform traditional machines in a “meaningful fashion.”

The increased number of qubits is expected to open up a deep pool of opportunities in the areas of drug discovery, finance, logistics, cyber security and more.

“The advent of the ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step towards the day when quantum computers can outperform classical computers for useful applications,” said Dr. Dario Gil, SVP at IBM.

“Quantum computing has the power to transform almost every field and help us tackle some of the biggest problems of our time. This is why IBM is rapidly innovating in quantum hardware and software design, empowering each other.” Developing methods for quantum and classical workloads.

Launched last year, the company’s previous generation of quantum processors boasted 65 qubits. And the generation before that had 27 qubits.

However, over the next few years, quantum processors are expected to become increasingly more powerful. In early 2023, IBM is expected to launch a quantum processor with 1,121 qubits.

IBM Quantum System One

ibm quantum system 2

In addition to the new Eagle processor, IBM also introduced details about its next quantum system, creatively named IBM Quantum System Two.

Although the IBM Quantum System One has set the stage for widespread adoption of quantum computing, advances in processor design will soon require new infrastructure. System Two, therefore, will be built to work with future generations of IBM quantum processors: the 433-qubit Osprey, the 1,121-qubit Condor and beyond.

When designing the new system, IBM says it focused on modularity. In short, it means the company has been careful to ensure that the machine will be equipped to handle the more powerful quantum processors as they become available over the next few years.

System Two is also designed to allow multiple quantum processors to be connected, potentially providing significant performance gains.

“The IBM Quantum System Two offers a glimpse into the quantum computing datacenters of the future, where the modularity and flexibility of the system infrastructure will be critical towards continuous scaling,” said Dr. Jay Gambetta said.

“System Two builds on IBM’s long legacy in both quantum and classical computing, bringing new innovations to every level of the technology stack.”

The first prototype of the IBM Quantum System Two is expected to go live in 2023.

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