- IBM’s roadmap calls for a 100,000-qubit quantum-centric supercomputer by 2023.
- The company is setting up critical research partnerships with world-leading universities and scientific institutions.
- Image: IBM Quantum System Two, shown visually here, is a system designed to be modular and flexible, combining multiple processors into a single system with communication links. (Credit: IBM)
IBM sets its sights on a 100,000 qubit quantum-centric supercomputer within a decade, according to a statement from the company and an updated roadmap.
The company will work with the University of Tokyo and the University of Chicago to help develop the 100,000-qubit system. IBM executives believe the computer will “serve as a cornerstone for addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems that even today’s most advanced supercomputers may never solve,” such as understanding chemical reactions, the dynamics of molecular processes, tackling climate change. , and other big challenges.
“Over the last few years, IBM has been at the forefront of introducing quantum technologies to the world,” said Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO of IBM, in a statement. “We have made significant progress along our roadmap and mission to build globally useful quantum technologies, so much so that we can now, with our partners, really begin to explore and develop a new class of quantum-powered supercomputers.”
IBM will partner with the University of Chicago, University of Tokyo and other partners to develop the system. The company will also expand this partnership to include Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, both members of the Chicago Quantum Exchange.
“Achieving large-scale breakthroughs in quantum technology requires deep-rooted and productive collaborations around the world and across various industrial, academic, and government partners,” said Paul Alivisatos, President of the University of Chicago. “Quantum information science and technology is at the crossroads where basic discoveries and technical innovations will combine to create real breakthroughs. The University of Chicago is thrilled to partner in this effort.”
“We hope our partnership will lead to scientific breakthroughs, accelerating the adoption of quantum computing for the coming era, and active engagement in critical societal challenges. We also aim to contribute to realizing a better future society by nurturing diverse talents,” said Dr. Teruo Fujii, President of the University of Tokyo.
IBM has outlined several steps for building this system in its Quantum Development Roadmap. IBM needs to scale and connect its growing number of quantum processors through quantum interconnect, as well as develop error correction technologies.
IBM Roadmap to 100,000 Qubits
According to the statement, IBM’s steps include:
- Three pillars debuted the necessary architectures for a quantum-centric supercomputer by the end of 2023. One of these is the new 133-qubit ‘IBM Heron’ processor. The processor is a complete redesign of the previous generation of IBM quantum processors, with a new two-qubit gate to enable higher performance. It will also be compatible with future extensions to allow modular connected processors to increase computer size.
- Introducing IBM Quantum System Two. The new flagship system is designed to be modular and flexible to introduce scaling elements to its basic components, including classic control electronics and high-density cryogenic cabling infrastructure. The system is targeted to be online by the end of 2023.
- Introducing quantum middleware. The company will create a set of tools to run workloads on both classical and quantum processors. It includes tools for parsing, parallel execution, and workload reconstruction to enable efficient solutions at scale.
Building a Quantum-Centric Supercomputer Block
Plans for this quantum-centric supercomputer are expected to involve innovation at all levels of the computing stack and cover the convergence of the fields of quantum computing and quantum communications, as well as the seamless integration of quantum and classical workflows via a hybrid cloud.
Since such a computer had never been built before, the first step was to create a blueprint. The design must integrate classical computers and quantum computers – a challenging task to date – and break new ground in quantum communication and computing technologies.
For more information on the path to a 100,000 qubit quantum-centric supercomputer, read IBM Research blog.