IBM's quantum leap: A 100,000-Qubit supercomputer on the horizon

IBM has unveiled its ambitious plan to construct a groundbreaking 100,000-qubit quantum computer within the next decade.
Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji Bello
Digital Tunnel
Digital Tunnel


In a remarkable display of scientific ambition, IBM has set its sights on constructing a colossal quantum computer comprising a staggering 100,000 qubits. By partnering with the University of Tokyo and the University of Chicago in a $100 million initiative, IBM seeks to propel quantum computing into a new era of unprecedented possibilities.

At the recent G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, the company unveiled its audacious plan, aiming to transform the field of computing and enable groundbreaking advancements in various domains.

While IBM currently holds the record for the largest quantum computing system with a 433-qubit processor, the forthcoming 100,000-qubit machine represents a paradigm shift in quantum capabilities.

Rather than replacing traditional supercomputers, this ambitious endeavor seeks to merge quantum power with classical computing to achieve remarkable breakthroughs in drug discovery, fertilizer production, and battery performance.

IBM's Vice President of Quantum, Jay Gambetta, describes this collaborative effort as "quantum-centric supercomputing." In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Gambetta emphasized the importance of combining the immense computational prowess of quantum machines with the sophistication of classical supercomputers. By leveraging the strengths of both technologies, this fusion aims to address complex challenges that have remained unsolvable until now.

Strides made for technological advancement

While significant progress has been made, the technology required for quantum-centric supercomputing is still in its infancy. IBM's proof-of-principle experiments have shown promising results, demonstrating that integrated circuits based on CMOS technology can control cold qubits with minimal power consumption.

IBM's quantum leap: A 100,000-Qubit supercomputer on the horizon
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However, further innovations are necessary, and this is where collaboration with academic research institutions becomes crucial.

IBM's modular chip design serves as the foundation for housing many qubits. With an individual chip unable to accommodate the sheer scale of qubits required, interconnects are being developed to facilitate the transfer of quantum information between modules.

IBM's "Kookaburra," a multichip processor with 1,386 qubits and a quantum communication link, is currently under development and anticipated for release in 2025. Additionally, the University of Tokyo and the University of Chicago actively contribute their expertise in components and communication innovations, making their mark on this monumental project.

As IBM embarks on this bold mission, it anticipates forging numerous industry-academic collaborations over the next decade. Recognizing the pivotal role of universities, Gambetta highlights the importance of empowering these institutions to leverage their strengths in research and development.

With the promise of a quantum-powered future on the horizon, the journey toward a 100,000-qubit supercomputer promises to unlock previously unimaginable scientific frontiers, revolutionizing our understanding of computation as we know it.

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