IBM said it is planning to launch a quantum computer with a 4,000 qubit processor by 2025 and put quantum computing to practical use. The company shared its roadmap to build a modular architecture that will enable quantum computers to have more qubits. In addition to increasing the number of qubits, the company is also working on building software to “distribute workloads across quantum and classical resources.”
Qubit or quantum bit is the basic unit of quantum information. Higher qubits mean more computing power, which translates into more powerful quantum computers.
So far, IBM has released quantum processors with up to 127 qubits. Last November, IBM said that it is working on two new processors with much higher computing power. The processor called Osprey which will have 433 qubits is expected to launch sometime this year 2022, while the second processor called Condor with 1,121 qubits is likely to be launched in late 2023.
With modular architecture, IBM is hoping to use these processors to achieve the equivalent of 4,000 qubit processors. IBM said that it will deploy chip-level couplers that will connect multiple chips together to effectively form a single, large processor.
“By combining modular quantum processors with classical infrastructure, orchestrated by Qiskit Runtime, we are building a platform that will let users easily build quantum calculations into their workflows and so tackle the essential challenges of our time,” Jay Gambetta, vice president of Quantum Computing and IBM Fellow said in a statement.
Qiskit Runtime is a containerised runtime software that runs on IBM Cloud and uses classical computers to optimise workloads and then efficiently execute them on quantum systems on a large scale. Other companies such as Fujitsu are exploring something on similar lines. Last month, the Japanese company unveiled its quantum computing simulator that will run on the company’s supercomputers and run quantum programs to figure out how qubits would react to different operations when they are run on an actual quantum system.
Further, IBM said it will develop software to improve error suppression and mitigation in quantum computers. Unlike classical computers, the laws of quantum physics restrict how error correction works in quantum computers. This makes them highly prone to interference, which leads to errors in quantum algorithms running on it.
Several researchers in the field have been working to address this problem. In January, researchers from three universities in different countries showed how conventional silicon used in chips can solve high error rates in quantum computers.
IBM has been one of the front runners in quantum computing and launched its first quantum system with 20 qubits for commercial use in 2019.
India too has stepped up partnerships with countries that have made early inroads in quantum computing. Last month, Finland signed a joint declaration with India to set up an Indo-Finnish Virtual Network Centre called QNxT on quantum computing.