IBM introduced its new 127-quantum bit (qubit) ‘Eagle‘ processor at the IBM Quantum Summit 2021– the annual event to showcase milestones in quantum hardware, software, and the growth of the quantum ecosystem.
This 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 company also previewed plans for IBM Quantum System Two– the next generation of quantum systems.
Quantum computing lays onto the fundamental quantum nature of matter at subatomic levels to offer the possibility of vastly increased computing power. The fundamental computational unit of quantum computing is the quantum circuit- an arrangement of qubits into quantum gates and measurements. The more qubits a quantum processor possesses, the more complex and valuable the quantum circuits that it can run.
IBM recently released detailed roadmaps for quantum computing, including a path for scaling quantum hardware to enable complex quantum circuits to reach Quantum Advantage. The newest Eagle is the latest step along this scaling path.
The company uses three performance attributes to measure progress in quantum computing hardware: Scale, Quality and Speed.
- Scale is measured in the number of qubits on a quantum processor and determines how large 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 that captures the feasibility of running real calculations composed of a large number of quantum circuits.
Dr. Darío Gil, Senior Vice President, IBM and Director of Research, noted:
‘Eagle’ is the first IBM quantum processor whose scale makes it impossible for a classical computer to reliably simulate. In fact, the number of classical bits necessary to represent a state on the 127-qubit processor exceeds the total number of atoms in the more than 7.5 billion people are alive today. The arrival of the ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step towards the day when quantum computers can outperform classical computers for useful applications. 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 available as an exploratory device on the IBM Cloud to select members of the IBM Quantum Network. As IBM continues scaling its processors, they are expected to mature beyond the infrastructure of IBM Quantum System One.