IBM announces 20-qubit cloud system, says 50 qubits next

November 13, 2017 //By Rich Pell
IBM (Yorktown Heights, NY) has announced two significant quantum processor upgrades for its IBM Q early-access commercial systems, which are aimed at building commercially available universal quantum computing systems for business and science applications.

The company announced that it plans to offer a 20-qubit quantum computer as a cloud-based service by the end of the year, with planned upgrades to follow in 2018. In addition, the company says it has also successfully built and measured an operational prototype 50-qubit processor with similar performance, which will be available in the next-generation IBM Q systems.

Previously IBM has made 5- and 16-qubit systems available for public access through its online Q Experience . According to the company, over 60,000 users have run over 1.7 million quantum experiments and generated over 35 third-party research publications using the service.

"We are, and always have been, focused on building technology with the potential to create value for our clients and the world," says Dario Gil, vice president of AI and IBM Q, IBM Research. "The ability to reliably operate several working quantum systems and putting them online was not possible just a few years ago."

"Now, we can scale IBM processors up to 50 qubits due to tremendous feats of science and engineering. These latest advances show that we are quickly making quantum systems and tools available that could offer an advantage for tackling problems outside the realm of classical machines."

The new 20-qubit processor system will feature improvements in superconducting qubit design, connectivity, and packaging, including an expanded open-source QISKit quantum software development kit. Coherence times, says the company, will lead the field with an average value of 90 microseconds, and allow high-fidelity quantum operations.

IBM Q

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