IBM aims to scale its quantum computers to more than 4,000 qubits by 2025, but we’re not quite there yet. For now, we’ll have to make do with significantly smaller systems, and today IBM announced the launch of its Osprey quantum processor, which has 433 qubits, versus the 127 qubits of its 2021 Eagle processor. And with that, the slow but steady march towards a quantum processor with real-world applications continues.
“The new 433 qubit ‘Osprey’ processor brings us one step closer to the point where quantum computers will be used to tackle previously unsolvable problems,” said Darío Gil, Senior Vice President, IBM and Director of Research. “We are continuously scaling and improving our quantum technology across hardware, software and classical integration to address the greatest challenges of our time, working with our partners and customers around the world. This work will prove to be the foundation for the coming era of quantum-centric supercomputing.”
IBM’s quantum roadmap includes two additional phases – the 1,121-qubit Condor and 1,386-qubit Flamingo processors in 2023 and 2024 – before it plans to reach the 4,000-qubit phase in 2025 with its Kookaburra processor. So far, the company has generally been able to make this roadmap work, but obviously the number of qubits in a quantum processor is only one part of a very large and complex puzzle, with longer coherence times and less noise. just as important.
Ideally, developers who want to work with these machines don’t have to worry about that, so increasingly the tools they use abstract the hardware for them. For example, with the new version of the Qiskit Runtime, developers can now trade speed for fewer errors.
The company also detailed today its Quantum System Two – essentially IBM’s quantum mainframe – which will be able to house and integrate multiple quantum processors into a single system with high-speed communications links. The idea here is to launch this system at the end of 2023.