IBM: Give us three years to solve quantum computing scaling

Big Blue claims it'll have a 4,158 qubit system by 2025

IBM Think IBM has big plans for its quantum computing gambit, including the launch of a 4,158-qubit system by 2025. To put that in context, the company just launched it's 127-qubit "Eagle" system in 2021.

The ambitious qubit count goal was presented at IBM Think 2022 during a tour of IBM's expanded supercomputing roadmap, which takes Big Blue through 2025, the year IBM Quantum VP Jay Gambetta said says "will have effectively removed the main boundaries in the way of scaling quantum processors." 

IBM telegraphed its quantum computing plans in 2020 when it revealed its plan to design quantum computers that work with classical computers and interconnects to form one big datacenter style quantum system. 

"The power isn't in quantum alone, but in a combination of quantum and classical computing," Gambetta said.

IBM's quantum plans for the next three years follow that philosophy, starting with the addition of threads to its cloud-native Qiskit Runtime in 2023. Qiskit threads will allow for quantum processors to be parallelized, which forms the basis of IBM's data center supercomputing approach.  

In 2023, IBM said it will be integrating "serverless quantum computing" into its core software stack, which in this case means that IBM has built a front end for its quantum platform. With this model, users submit classical and quantum code for an experiment, and IBM's Cloud Code Engine decides how to distribute the workload across classical and quantum systems. 

IBM said its first parallelization-read quantum processor, a 133-qubit model dubbed "Heron" and scheduled for release in 2023, will connect three processors using classical communication techniques.

IBM also has plans for a three-chip system called "Crossbill" that will be connected by chip-to-chip couplers IBM said will make the system feel more like using one larger processor.

In 2024, IBM said it will be introducing the third version of its coupled chips, called "Flamingo," which will have a built-in quantum link that will allow three Flamingo chips to be combined into a 1,386-qubit system. 2025 is when the fabled 4,158-qubit "Kookaburra" chip will appear, along with its purported boundary-breaking scaling capabilities.

"The combination of these technologies — classical parallelization, multi-chip quantum processors, and quantum parallelization — gives us all the ingredients we need to scale our computers to wherever our roadmap takes," Gambetta said.

Gambetta also admits that there's some "incredibly tough engineering and physics problems" to be solved if IBM wants to realize its plans. Those problems are without solutions for now, and it remains to be seen if any can even be found. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Will this be one of the world's first RISC-V laptops?
    A sneak peek at a notebook that could be revealed this year

    Pic As Apple and Qualcomm push for more Arm adoption in the notebook space, we have come across a photo of what could become one of the world's first laptops to use the open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture.

    In an interview with The Register, Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International, signaled we will see a RISC-V laptop revealed sometime this year as the ISA's governing body works to garner more financial and development support from large companies.

    It turns out Philipp Tomsich, chair of RISC-V International's software committee, dangled a photo of what could likely be the laptop in question earlier this month in front of RISC-V Week attendees in Paris.

    Continue reading
  • Did hoodwink Americans with IRS facial-recognition tech, senators ask
    Biz tells us: Won't someone please think of the ... fraud we've stopped

    Democrat senators want the FTC to investigate "evidence of deceptive statements" made by regarding the facial-recognition technology it controversially built for Uncle Sam. made headlines this year when the IRS said US taxpayers would have to enroll in the startup's facial-recognition system to access their tax records in the future. After a public backlash, the IRS reconsidered its plans, and said taxpayers could choose non-biometric methods to verify their identity with the agency online.

    Just before the IRS controversy, said it uses one-to-one face comparisons. "Our one-to-one face match is comparable to taking a selfie to unlock a smartphone. does not use one-to-many facial recognition, which is more complex and problematic. Further, privacy is core to our mission and we do not sell the personal information of our users," it said in January.

    Continue reading
  • Meet Wizard Spider, the multimillion-dollar gang behind Conti, Ryuk malware
    Russia-linked crime-as-a-service crew is rich, professional – and investing in R&D

    Analysis Wizard Spider, the Russia-linked crew behind high-profile malware Conti, Ryuk and Trickbot, has grown over the past five years into a multimillion-dollar organization that has built a corporate-like operating model, a year-long study has found.

    In a technical report this week, the folks at Prodaft, which has been tracking the cybercrime gang since 2021, outlined its own findings on Wizard Spider, supplemented by info that leaked about the Conti operation in February after the crooks publicly sided with Russia during the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

    What Prodaft found was a gang sitting on assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars funneled from multiple sophisticated malware variants. Wizard Spider, we're told, runs as a business with a complex network of subgroups and teams that target specific types of software, and has associations with other well-known miscreants, including those behind REvil and Qbot (also known as Qakbot or Pinkslipbot).

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022