IBM has announced plans to develop quantum computers over the
Hardware

IBM has announced plans to develop quantum computers over the next 10 years: systems with 100,000 qubits and commercial value

At the IBM Quantum Summit, researchers announced the Quantum System Two quantum computer, based on three IBM Heron processors, and shared further plans to scale error-reducing quantum systems and develop software for them. IBM has announced that it wants to exceed the 100,000 qubit threshold. If these plans come to fruition, IBM could create the world’s first platform for Universal Quantum computing.

    Image source: IBM

Image source: IBM

Quantum computing exploits the properties of subatomic particles that allow them to be in different states at the same time. This allows quantum machines to perform large numbers of calculations simultaneously, potentially solving problems beyond the capabilities of traditional computers. But the qubits on which the systems are based are unstable and only maintain their quantum states for very short periods of time, leading to errors or “noise” in the calculations.

Harnessing the power of quantum mechanics is no easy task. Quantum systems require extremely low temperatures, are inherently fragile and prone to decoherence. Precisely manipulating qubits and measuring their states is a major challenge, and to successfully scale a quantum system, the error rate must be reduced from one in a thousand to one in a million.

IBM said the new scientific advances in its systems marked the end of the first experimental development phase that had lasted the last seven years. This phase assembled enough qubits to perform calculations, developed ways to control qubits to practically measure their states, and created the first quantum algorithms.

According to IBM, humanity has now entered the second phase. The research will focus on quantum hardware performance, error reduction and correction, and application performance testing. To date, IBM has published approximately 2,595 research papers highlighting its ideas and advances in this area. By the end of 2024, the company plans to build eight quantum computing centers in the USA, Canada, Japan and Germany to ensure researchers broad access to Quantum System Two.

The third phase is intended to expand scalability and provide bug fixes. IBM is confident that reaching the required level of error correction is closer than previously thought. This confidence is based on new research, particularly new interconnection technologies that enable unprecedented scaling of quantum systems with thousands of qubits.

IBM’s new Quantum Roadmap details the software and hardware technologies needed to achieve the quantum advantage that will enable a quantum system to solve problems that traditional computers cannot. Unsolved problems in artificial intelligence, chemistry, financial services, life sciences, physics and basic research could finally become solvable and bring the results closer to humanity. Green checkmarks on the roadmap mark milestones that have already been reached.

The next major advance in quantum computing is expected to be the Kookaburra processor in 2025, which will act as the “foundation block” from which scalable systems with real-time error correction are built. According to IBM, researchers are also trying to use quantum systems to find correlations in large amounts of data and solve so-called optimization problems that could help improve business processes.

IBM’s current roadmap outlines how one of the leading developers of quantum computing sees the field evolving over the next decade. The expectation that quantum systems are now close to commercial use has led to a wave of funding for the technology in recent years. But signs that business applications are falling short of expectations have led to warnings of a possible “quantum winter” that will weaken investor confidence and financial support.

IBM researchers are confident that quantum computers are beginning to demonstrate their relevance as a crucial tool for scientific research. “For the first time, we have systems large and powerful enough to do useful engineering and scientific work.” said IBM Quantum research director Dario Gil. He noticed that too “sees a very healthy industrial base investing in technology” A Companies that use IBM quantum systems as part of their research and development activities continue to invest “cyclical”.

“It will take some time for us to move from scientific value to, let’s say, commercial value.”says Jay Gambetta, vice president of quantum technologies at IBM. — But in my opinion the difference between research and commercialization is getting smaller and smaller.”

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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