IBM’s Quantum Roadmap Points Toward 1,000-Qubit Quantum Computer by 2023

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IBM Quantum
Members of the IBM Quantum team at work investigating how to control increasingly large systems of qubits for long enough, and with few enough errors, to run the complex calculations required by future quantum applications. Credit: Connie Zhou for IBM

IBM said it’s quantum roadmap has a big pin stuck in 2023 for a 1,000-qubit quantum computer, according to the IBM blog.

In the blog, IBM staffers write: “Today, we are releasing the roadmap that we think will take us from the noisy, small-scale devices of today to the million-plus qubit devices of the future. Our team is 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 order to house even more massive devices beyond Condor, we’re developing a dilution refrigerator larger than any currently available commercially.”

The team credits “industry-leading knowledge, multidisciplinary teams, and agile methodology” for its current progress and it’s ability to achieve the million-qubit mark, one of the company’s roadmap’s goals

IBM’s quantum computer is based on electronic quantum states of artificial atoms known as superconducting transmon qubits, according to the blog.

Control remains an issue, they added: “The biggest challenge facing our team today is figuring out how to control large systems of these qubits for long enough, and with few enough errors, to run the complex quantum circuits required by future quantum applications.”

IBM has been investigating the superconducting qubit model since the mid-2000s, they report, while increasing coherence times and decreasing errors to enable multi-qubit devices in the early 2010s.

“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,” they write.

The company expects to debut our 127-qubit IBM Quantum Eagle processor. Then, it scales up quickly.

“In 2023, we will debut the 1,121-qubit IBM Quantum Condor processor, incorporating the lessons learned from previous processors while continuing to lower the critical two-qubit errors so that we can run longer quantum circuits,” they write. “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.”

Christopher Savoie, CEO and founder of Zapata Computing, said that IBM’s announcement and roadmap are bold steps forward for the quantum industry.

“The work and vision announced yesterday by the IBM quantum team is both radical and incredibly exciting. The level of investment they are committing to for reaching the ultimate goal of building a large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer validates everything we’ve been striving for at Zapata Computing,” said Savoie. “These vital foundational steps forward mean that our customers as well as the collective quantum community are getting closer to a time when they can start realizing the near-term quantum advantages that many still remain skeptical about.”