IBM cuts ribbon on quantum computing centre wherein a 53-qubit monster lurks

Can probably run Crysis

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IBM has opened a quantum computing centre in Poughkeepsie, New York, which adds 10 quantum systems to Big Blue's fleet.

The company claims its customers have run 14 million experiments using its quantum cloud computers and published 200 research papers since 2016.

"The fleet is now composed of five 20-qubit systems, one 14-qubit system, and four 5-qubit systems," Big Blue beamed. "Five of the systems now have a Quantum Volume of 16 – a measure of the power of a quantum computer – demonstrating a new sustained performance milestone." The systems promise 95 per cent availability.

"Within one month, IBM's commercially available quantum fleet will grow to 14 systems, including a new 53-qubit quantum computer, the single largest universal quantum system made available for external access in the industry, to date. The new system offers a larger lattice and gives users the ability to run even more complex entanglement and connectivity experiments."

Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, said the plan was to make quantum computing from the lab accessible via the cloud to tens of thousands of users. "In order to empower an emerging quantum community of educators, researchers, and software developers that share a passion for revolutionizing computing, we have built multiple generations of quantum processor platforms that we integrate into high-availability quantum systems. We iterate and improve the performance of our systems multiple times per year and this new 53-qubit system now incorporates the next family of processors on our roadmap."

Quantum physics promises to change computing by ditching the traditional zeroes and ones of computing states in favour of quantum phenomena like superposition and entanglement – where separate particles influence each other and wave interference.

Keeping qubits stable is no mean feat, and the hardware does this by operating at super-cooled temperatures of 10 millikelvin (-273.14˚C).

In research terms, it promises to allow fundamentally different approaches to research in fields from chemistry and physics to financial analysis.

IBM is working with CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider, to help solve computing challenges created by its upgrade. By 2026, it will need somewhere between 50 and 100 times more computing power. Part of the solution might be the ability to directly mimic quantum physics on a quantum machine. But quantum computing could also use quantum applications and algorithms to change the way that data is analysed and classified.

Financial services have also demonstrated use of quantum systems to reduce errors in pricing options. ®


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