IBM says quantum chips can beat standard chips in two years

IBM says quantum chips can beat standard chips in two years

IBM claims to have taken an important step towards the practice of quantum computing. On Monday, the company announced Eagle, a 127-qubit quantum processor. IBM claims that this is the first processor of its kind that cannot be simulated by traditional supercomputers. To understand what this means, the company states that simulating an eagle requires more classical parts than all human atoms on Earth. IBM has made a breakthrough in its new design, where qubits are located on a single layer, while processor control components are located on multiple physical layers. This is, according to the company, a design that allows for a significant increase in computing power.

One aspect of the eagle that the company is not discussing at this time is quantum volume. Created by IBM, it is a measure of quantum computer performance by taking a big picture of the various parts of the quantum computer. Consider not only the qubits, but also how they interact with each other. The larger the quantum volume, the more powerful the quantum computer is in tackling difficult problems.

Jerry Chow, director of IBM's Quantum Hardware Systems Development Unit, told Engadget: “The exploration system provides early access to the latest technology and does not guarantee uptime or a certain level of reproducible performance as measured by quantum volumes.”

Without knowing the quantum volume of the Eagle processor, it is difficult to say exactly how it compares to the existing one. Last October, Honeywell claimed that the system model H1 had a quantum volume of 128 and was coupled with only 10 qubits. For reference, IBM announced the major 27 cubic systems with 64 quantum volumes earlier this year. Obviously, the company's new processor is powerful, but Cubit doesn't tell the whole story here. It's also worth noting that Eagle doesn't claim quantum superiority. According to the company, this is a step towards that milestone, but processors have yet to reach the point where they can solve problems that traditional computers cannot solve. In 2019, Google caused controversy when it (easily) claimed to have accomplished a feat with the Sycamore system. IBM at the time called its claim "undefendable" because of the fact that Google built a computer to solve a particular equation.

Starting next month, IBM plans to make Eagle available to some members of the Quantum Network.