Thursday, December 1, 2022

IBM unveils the world’s most powerful quantum processor

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At the IBM Quantum Summit 2022, IBM unveiled the world’s most powerful quantum processor, the Osprey, which boasts a massive 433 quantum bits (qubits). According to the company, the IBM Quantum Osprey is the largest quantum processor to date, three times larger than the Eagle processor the company announced last year.

Like Eagle, Osprey includes multi-level wiring to provide flexibility for signal routing and device layout while also adding integrated filtering to reduce noise and improve stability. This processor has the potential to run complex quantum computations well beyond the computational capability of any classical computer.

Unlike classical bits, which have to be in a state of either one or zero, qubits can exist in a complex mix of both, which potentially raises the processing power for each added qubit. As a result, quantum computers offer the possibility of vastly increased computing power that can be used to tackle calculations of much greater complexity in fields such as artificial intelligence.

IBM’s quantum roadmap includes two additional phases – the 1,121-qubit Condor and 1,386-qubit Flamingo processors in 2023 and 2024, respectively, before the company goes to 4,000-qubit with the Kookaburra processor in 2025.

The company also unveiled the designs for the core building block of quantum-centric supercomputing: the IBM Quantum System Two, for release in 2023. The system is designed to be modular and flexible, with the ability to house multiple architectures and processors, and claims it will include Osprey starting next year. The system design allows for an exponential step up in the quantum computing scale and enables the vision of quantum-centric supercomputing.

Addressing noise in quantum computers continues to be an important factor in the adoption of this technology. To simplify this, IBM released a beta update to Qiskit Runtime, which now includes allowing a user to trade speed for reduced error count with a simple option in the API. By abstracting the complexities of these features into the software layer, it will make it easier for users to incorporate quantum computing into their workflows and speed up the development of quantum applications.

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