IBM aims for million qubit quantum computer

IBM aims for million qubit quantum computer

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The 1000 qubit system in 2023 will have addressed the scalability challenges for much larger systems, says IBM.

“We think [this] will take us from the noisy, small-scale devices of today to the million-plus qubit devices of the future,” said Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President of IBM Quantum. “Our hardware roadmap sits at the heart of a larger mission, to design a full-stack quantum computer deployed via the cloud that anyone around the world can program,” said Gambetta.

The IBM system is based around the electronic quantum states of artificial atoms known as superconducting transmon qubits, which are connected and manipulated by sequences of microwave pulses in order to run these circuits.

The company has been working on superconducting qubits since the mid-2000s, increasing coherence times and decreasing errors to enable multi-qubit devices in the early 2010s. It now has over 24 stable systems on the IBM Cloud for clients and the general public to experiment on. These include the 5-qubit Canary processors and 27-qubit Falcon processors.

The 1000 qubit device, IBM Quantum Condor, will be launched by the end of 2023 and to house larger systems IBM is developing a dilution refrigerator larger than any currently available commercially.

“Simultaneous to our efforts to improve our smaller devices, we are also incorporating the many lessons learned into an aggressive roadmap for scaling to larger systems. This month we quietly released our 65-qubit IBM Quantum Hummingbird processor to our IBM Q Network members,” said Gambetta.

This device features 8:1 readout multiplexing, combining readout signals from eight qubits into one, reducing the total amount of wiring and components required for readout and improving the ability to scale. IBM says it has also significantly reduced the signal processing latency time in the associated control system in preparation for upcoming feedback and feed-forward system capabilities. This will allow control of the qubits based on classical conditions while the quantum circuit runs.

“Next year, we’ll debut our 127-qubit IBM Quantum Eagle processor,” said Gametta. Eagle includes through-silicon vias (TSVs) and multi-level wiring to effectively fan-out a large density of classical control signals while protecting the qubits in a separated layer in order to maintain high coherence times. This will also include concurrent real-time classical compute capabilities that will allow for execution of a broader family of quantum circuits and codes.

All of this is in preparation for the 433-qubit Osprey system in 2022, to be followed by 1,121-qubit Condor processor in 2023. This will require larger cooling systems. The 3.3 x 2m (10 x  6ft) “super-fridge,” internally codenamed “Goldeneye,” is designed with a million-qubit system in mind.

“We think of Condor as an inflection point, a milestone that marks our ability to implement error correction and scale up our devices, while simultaneously complex enough to explore potential quantum advantages—problems that we can solve more efficiently on a quantum computer than on the world’s best supercomputers,” said Gambetta. › quantum-computing

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