IBM’s Eagle: A 127-Qubit Quantum Computing Breakthrough Unveiled
Quantum computing is a state-of-the-art innovative and revolutionary technology that harnesses the power and capacity of quantum physics to carry out quite complex calculations which are clearly beyond the reach of classical computers. Quantum bits or qubits are utilized by Quantum computer systems, which exist in superpositions of two states to encode and control statistics in particular ways.
One of the most vital challenges of quantum computing is that maintaining quality and speed is scaling up the number of qubits on a quantum processor. The more qubits a quantum processor has, the more complex and valuable the quantum circuits it can run. However, increasing the qubit count also introduces more sources of noise and error, which can degrade the performance of the quantum system.
IBM’s Breakthrough: The Eagle Processor
IBM is one of the leading companies in the field of quantum computing, with a vision to achieve quantum advantage, the point at which quantum systems can meaningfully outperform their classical counterparts. To realize this vision, IBM has developed a detailed roadmap for scaling quantum hardware, software, and ecosystem.
As part of this roadmap, IBM unveiled its new 127-qubit Eagle processor at the IBM Quantum Summit 2021, its annual event to showcase milestones in quantum hardware, software and the growth of the quantum ecosystem. The Eagle processor is a breakthrough in tapping into the massive computing potential of devices based on quantum physics. It heralds the point in hardware development where quantum circuits cannot be reliably simulated exactly on a classical computer.
The Eagle processor is IBM’s first quantum processor developed and deployed to contain more than 100 operational and connected qubits. It follows IBM’s 65-qubit Hummingbird processor unveiled in 2020 and the 27-qubit Falcon processor unveiled in 2019. To achieve this breakthrough, IBM researchers built on innovations pioneered within its existing quantum processors, such as a qubit arrangement design to reduce errors and an architecture to reduce the number of necessary components.
The new techniques leveraged within Eagle place control wiring on multiple physical levels within the processor while keeping the qubits on a single layer, which enables a significant increase in qubits. The Eagle processor also features advanced 3D packaging technology that allows for high-density interconnects between chips and reduces signal losses.
IBM measures progress in quantum computing hardware through three performance attributes: Scale, Quality and Speed. Scale is measured in the number of qubits on a quantum processor and determines how large of a quantum circuit can be run. Quality is measured by Quantum Volume and describes how accurately quantum circuits run on a real quantum device. Speed is measured by CLOPS (Circuit Layer Operations Per Second), a metric IBM introduced in November 2021, and captures the feasibility of running real calculations composed of a large number of quantum circuits.
The Eagle processor demonstrates IBM’s leadership in all three attributes, as it offers an unprecedented level of scale, quality and speed for quantum computation. According to IBM, the Eagle processor has achieved a Quantum Volume of 1024, which is four times higher than any other publicly reported Quantum Volume. The Eagle processor also delivers over 10 billion CLOPS, which is more than 100 times faster than any other publicly reported CLOPS.
IBM’s Future: The Quantum System Two
In addition to unveiling the Eagle processor, IBM also previewed plans for IBM Quantum System Two, the next generation of quantum systems. Quantum System Two is designed to house future quantum processors with up to 433 qubits, such as Osprey (expected in 2022) and Condor (expected in 2023). Quantum System Two will feature a modular design that allows for easy upgrades and maintenance, as well as improved cooling and shielding capabilities.
Quantum System Two will also enable new programming models for leveraging quantum and classical resources, such as Quantum Serverless. Quantum Serverless is a cloud-based service that allows users to run complex quantum applications without worrying about the underlying hardware details or costs. Quantum Serverless will provide access to IBM’s best available hardware at any given time, as well as optimized classical resources for pre- and post-processing.
Conclusion: The Dawn of a New Era
IBM’s announcement of the Eagle processor and the Quantum System Two marks a significant milestone in the history of quantum computing. It shows that IBM is not only advancing the state-of-the-art in quantum hardware but also creating an integrated platform for developing and deploying scalable and reliable quantum applications.
IBM’s Eagle processor is leading quantum computers into a new era — where we can explore the uncharted computational territory and experience a key milestone on the path toward practical quantum computation. With Eagle, we can expect to see quantum computers bring real-world benefits across fields such as chemistry, physics, finance, optimization, machine learning, and more.
IBM’s Quantum System Two is paving the way for the future of quantum computing — where we can access and utilize quantum resources seamlessly and efficiently, without being constrained by hardware limitations or costs. With Quantum System Two, we can anticipate seeing quantum computing become more accessible and ubiquitous, enabling new discoveries and innovations.
IBM’s breakthroughs in quantum computing are not only impressive but also inspiring. They are projecting that quantum computing is not at all a distant dream, but a tangible reality that is well within our reach. They are also projecting that quantum computing is not a solitary endeavor, but a highly collaborative effort that involves several developers, researchers, users, and partners from various domains, backgrounds, and sectors.
IBM invites everybody to join its quantum community and ecosystem and to experience the power and high potential of quantum computing for themselves. By working together, we surely can unlock quantum utility and unleash quantum creativity for a better world and mankind.