IBM unveils quantum technology roadmap

September 17, 2020 // By Rich Pell
IBM unveils quantum technology roadmap
Tech giant IBM has published its roadmap for the future of its quantum computing hardware.

The quantum roadmap represents what the company thinks will take it from "the noisy, small-scale devices of today to the million-plus qubit devices of the future." Currently the company's researchers are developing a suite of scalable, increasingly larger and better processors, with a 1,000-plus qubit device - called IBM Quantum Condor - targeted for the end of 2023.

In addition, in order to house even more massive devices beyond Condor, the company is developing a dilution refrigerator larger than any currently available commercially.

"This roadmap puts us on a course toward the future’s million-plus qubit processors thanks to industry-leading knowledge, multidisciplinary teams, and agile methodology improving every element of these systems," says Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President, IBM Quantum. "All the while, 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."

The biggest challenge facing the researchers today, says the company, is figuring out how to control large systems of qubits for long enough, and with few enough errors, to run the complex quantum circuits required by future quantum applications.

"IBM has been exploring superconducting qubits since the mid-2000s, increasing coherence times and decreasing errors to enable multi-qubit devices in the early 2010s," says Gambetta. "Continued refinements and advances at every level of the system from the qubits to the compiler allowed us to put the first quantum computer in the cloud in 2016."

Next year the company says it expects to debut its 127-qubit IBM Quantum Eagle processor, which features several upgrades in order to surpass the 100-qubit milestone. The Eagle processor will also introduce concurrent real-time classical compute capabilities that will allow for execution of a broader family of quantum circuits and codes.

"The design principles established for our smaller processors will set us on a course to release a 433-qubit IBM Quantum Osprey system in 2022,"

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