At the IBM Quantum Summit 2021, IBM (NYSE: IBM) has unveiled its new 127-quantum bit (qubit) ‘Eagle’ processor. The ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step forward in realizing the huge computation potential of quantum-based technologies. It would mark a turning point in hardware development when quantum circuits can no longer be accurately replicated on a traditional computer. At the Summit, IBM also previewed its plans for IBM Quantum System Two, the next generation of quantum systems.
Quantum computing takes use of the basic quantum nature of matter at the subatomic level to provide massively expanded computer capability. The quantum circuit, which consists of an organization of qubits into quantum gates and measurements, is the fundamental processing unit of quantum computing. The quantum circuits that a quantum processor can execute are more complicated and valuable the more qubits it has.
IBM has unveiled comprehensive quantum computing roadmaps, including a way for scaling quantum hardware to allow sophisticated quantum circuits to achieve Quantum Advantage, the point at which quantum systems outperform their conventional counterparts appreciably. Eagle is the most recent phase in this scaling process.
Eagle is IBM’s first quantum processor with more than 100 operational and linked qubits, which was created and implemented. It comes after IBM’s 65-qubit ‘Hummingbird’ CPU, which was announced in 2020, and the 27-qubit ‘Falcon’ processor, which was announced in 2019.
IBM researchers capitalized on advancements pioneered inside its current quantum computers, such as a qubit arrangement design that reduces mistakes and an architecture that reduces the number of required components, to reach this achievement. The novel approaches used in Eagle would allow for a considerable increase in qubits by placing control circuitry on many physical layers within the CPU while retaining the qubits on a single layer.
“The arrival of the ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step towards the day when quantum computers can outperform classical computers for useful applications,” said Dr. Darío Gil, Senior Vice President, IBM and Director of Research. “Quantum computing has the power to transform nearly every sector and help us tackle the biggest problems of our time. This is why IBM continues to rapidly innovate quantum hardware and software design, building ways for quantum and classical workloads to empower each other, and create a global ecosystem that is imperative to the growth of a quantum industry.”
The first ‘Eagle’ processor is now accessible to select IBM Quantum Network members as an exploration device on the IBM Cloud.
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IBM Quantum System Two
IBM’s processors are projected to mature beyond the infrastructure of IBM Quantum System One as the company continues to scale its processors. Therefore, at IBM has presented IBM Quantum System Two at IBM Quantum Summit 2021. It’s a notion for the future of quantum computing platforms. IBM Quantum System Two is designed to be compatible with IBM’s upcoming 433-qubit and 1,121-qubit processors.
“IBM Quantum System Two offers a glimpse into the future quantum computing datacenter, where modularity and flexibility of system infrastructure will be key towards continued scaling,” said Dr. Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and VP of Quantum Computing. “System Two draws on IBM’s long heritage in both quantum and classical computing, bringing in new innovations at every level of the technology stack.”
At the heart of IBM Quantum System Two lies the principle of modularity. As IBM moves forward with its hardware strategy and develops processors with higher qubit counts, the control hardware must have the flexibility and resources to grow. Control electronics, which allow users to manipulate the qubits, and cryogenic cooling, which preserves the qubits at a low enough temperature for their quantum features to appear, are two of these resources.
A new generation of scalable qubit control circuits, as well as higher-density cryogenic components and cabling, will be used in the IBM Quantum System Two architecture. In addition, IBM Quantum System Two introduces a new cryogenic platform, developed in collaboration with Bluefors, that features a novel, innovative structural design that maximizes space for the support hardware required by larger processors while ensuring engineers can easily access and service the hardware.
In addition, the novel architecture would open up the prospect of providing a bigger shared cryogenic work-space, perhaps allowing numerous quantum processors to be linked together. In 2023, the prototype IBM Quantum System Two is projected to be operational.