Today marks an important milestone in the emerging world of quantum computing. IBM has accomplished the historic feat of a Quantum Volume of 64 on a 27-qubit client-deployed system, a first on a universal superconducting quantum computer, making it the most powerful system available to users.
Ultimately, the higher Quantum Volume expands the capacity of a quantum system. With this higher quantum volume, researchers could utilize quantum computing to tackle real-world problems in a diverse range of industries. And this is just the beginning.
Over the years, IBM has taken massive steps in the realms of quantum computing. The company's eventual aim? They want to create the world's most advanced quantum systems. Just in the last four years, IBM has made 28 quantum computers with eight of them being created this year alone. Today's expanded system will be accessible within the IBM Q network in upcoming releases and improvements to the IBM Cloud software services as well as on the cross-platform open-source software development kit Qiskit.
For the uninitiated, the IBM Q Network is a "community of Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, startups and national research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing". The network currently has 115 clients, government groups, startups, general partners, and university members, with over 250,000 registered users of the IBM quantum experience.
Higher Quantum Volume expands the capacity of a quantum computer
Quantum volume is the value used to measure a quantum computer's potential, capabilities, and error rates. As mentioned already, higher quantum volume helps expand the exploration of real-world solutions in academia and across industries. Quantum computing has exciting potential, but it needs to achieve Quantum Advantage to fully evolve into a more viable tool for research.
This is the point at which information processing tasks can be performed more efficiently or cost-effectively on a quantum computer versus a classical one. Higher Quantum volume brings us one step closer to Quantum Advantage.
IBM achieved its milestone today by utilizing a new set of software and hardware techniques to improve overall performance. These improvements were based on prior, extensive knowledge of quantum hardware. As mentioned by the IBM Q team, "These hardware-aware methods are extensible and will improve any quantum circuit run on any IBM Quantum system, resulting in improvements to the experiments and applications which users can explore." IBM could reach its goal of Quantum Advantage, much sooner, if they keep moving at this tremendous pace.
Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President, IBM Quantum, shared a similar sentiment in today's press release stating, "We are always finding new ways to push the limits of our systems so that we can run larger, more complex quantum circuits and more quickly achieve a Quantum Advantage."
"IBM's full-stack approach gives a unique avenue to develop hardware-aware applications, algorithms, and circuits, all running on the most extensive and powerful quantum hardware fleet in the industry."
What is a quantum computer?
There has been a lot of hype surrounding quantum computing and for a good reason too. Quantum computing is computing based on the same rules that govern how atoms manipulate information. Similar to the way your computer at home uses logical circuits, quantum computers use "quantum circuits", which are based on everyone's favorite quantum phenomena superposition, entanglement, and interference.
This allows these new quantum systems to perform mathematical calculations that put even some of our most advanced supercomputers to shame.