IBM announces the unveiling of a revolutionary 127-qubit quantum processor


IBM today announced its new 127 quantum-bit (qubit) “Eagle” processor at the IBM Quantum Summit 2021, its annual event to showcase milestones in quantum hardware, software and the growth of the quantum ecosystem .

The “Eagle” processor is a breakthrough in harnessing the massive computing potential of quantum physics-based devices. It heralds the point in hardware development where quantum circuits cannot be reliably simulated exactly on a conventional computer. IBM also previewed plans for IBM Quantum System Two, the next generation of quantum systems.

Quantum computing harnesses the fundamental quantum nature of matter at subatomic levels to provide the possibility of dramatically increased computing power. The fundamental unit of computation in quantum computing is the quantum circuit, an arrangement of qubits in quantum gates and measurements. The more qubits a quantum processor has, the more complex and valuable the quantum circuits it can perform.

IBM recently launched detailed roadmaps for quantum computing, including a path to scale quantum hardware to enable complex quantum circuits to achieve quantum advantage, the point at which quantum systems can surpass significantly their classic counterpoints. Eagle is the last step on this scaling path.

IBM measures the progress of quantum computing hardware through three performance attributes: Scale, Quality and Speed. Scale is measured as the number of qubits on a quantum processor and determines the size of a quantum circuit that can be executed. Quality is measured by quantum volume and describes how precisely quantum circuits work on a true quantum device. Speed ​​is measured by CLOPS (Circuit Layer Operations Per Second), a metric introduced by IBM in November 2021, and captures the feasibility of performing real calculations made up of large numbers of quantum circuits.

127-qubit Eagle processor
“Eagle” is IBM’s first quantum processor developed and deployed to contain more than 100 operational and connected qubits. It follows IBM’s 65-qubit “Hummingbird” processor unveiled in 2020 and the 27-qubit “Falcon” processor unveiled in 2019. To achieve this breakthrough, IBM researchers have relied on pioneering innovations within its existing quantum processors, such as reducing errors and an architecture to reduce the number of components required. New techniques exploited in Eagle place control wiring on multiple physical levels within the processor while keeping qubits on a single layer, allowing for a significant increase in qubits.

Increasing the number of qubits will allow users to explore problems to a new level of complexity as they undertake experiments and run applications, such as optimizing machine learning or modeling new molecules and materials. for use in fields ranging from the energy industry to the drug discovery process. “Eagle” is IBM’s first quantum processor whose scale makes it impossible to reliably simulate a classical computer. In fact, the number of classic bits needed to represent a state on the 127-qubit processor exceeds the total number of atoms of the more than 7.5 billion people alive today.

“The arrival of the ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step towards the day when quantum computers will be able to outperform conventional computers for useful applications,” said Dr Darío Gil, IBM senior vice president and chief research officer. . “Quantum computing has the power to transform almost every industry and help us solve the biggest problems of our time. That’s why IBM continues to innovate rapidly in the design of quantum hardware and software, creating ways for quantum and classical workloads to empower each other and create a global ecosystem essential for an industry to grow. quantum. “

The first “Eagle” processor is available as an exploratory device in the IBM cloud to select members of the IBM Quantum network.

For a more technical description of the ‘Eagle’ processor, read this blog.

IBM Quantum System Two
In 2019, IBM unveiled IBM Quantum System One, the world’s first integrated quantum computing system. Since then, IBM has deployed these systems as the basis of its cloud-based IBM Quantum services in the United States, as well as in Germany for Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Germany’s leading scientific research institution, in Japan for the University. from Tokyo, and a system coming to the United States at the Cleveland Clinic. In addition, today we announced a new partnership with Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, to deploy IBM’s first quantum system in the country. For more details, click here.

As IBM continues to evolve its processors, they are expected to evolve beyond the IBM Quantum System One infrastructure. Therefore, we are excited to unveil a concept for the future of quantum computing systems: IBM Quantum System Two. IBM Quantum System Two is designed to work with future IBM processors at 433 qubits and 1121 qubits.

“IBM Quantum System Two offers a glimpse of the future quantum computing data center, where modularity and flexibility of the system infrastructure will be essential for continued evolution,” said Dr. Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President of quantum computing. “System Two builds on IBM’s long heritage in quantum and classical computing, bringing new innovations to all levels of the technology stack. “

The concept of modularity is at the heart of IBM Quantum System Two. As IBM progresses through its hardware roadmap and builds processors with higher qubit counts, it is essential that control hardware has the flexibility and resources to scale. These resources include control electronics, which allow users to manipulate qubits, and cryogenic cooling, which keeps qubits at a temperature low enough for their quantum properties to manifest.

The IBM Quantum System Two design will incorporate a new generation of scalable qubit control electronics as well as higher density cryogenic components and cabling. In addition, IBM Quantum System Two introduces a new cryogenic platform, designed in collaboration with Bluefors, featuring a new and innovative structural design to maximize the space for supporting hardware required by larger processors while ensuring that engineers can easily access and maintain equipment.

Additionally, the new design offers the potential to provide a larger shared cryogenic workspace – ultimately leading to the potential linkage of multiple quantum processors. The IBM Quantum System Two prototype is expected to be operational in 2023.

Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.


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