IBM has big plans for its quantum computing systems, but recognizes that a lot of work needs to be done.
IBM has announced its goal to build a 4,000 qubit system by 2025 on its Think! an event this week that says it wants to build practical quantum computing systems that include an intelligent layer for orchestrating software to efficiently distribute workloads and eliminate infrastructure challenges.
“We think that by next year we will start prototyping quantum software applications for specific uses,” said IBM. “We will begin to define these services with our first test case – machine learning – working with partners to accelerate the path to useful quantum software applications.”
The big goal is to build what, in today’s terms, would be a massive quantum computer – a 4000+ qubit system built with clusters of quantum processors. IBM’s current quantum processor, Eagle, supports 127-qubit processing and is expected to launch Osprey, a 433-qubit processor by the end of the year, to be followed in 2023 by the 1121-qubit Condor processor.
Achieving the huge goal that IBM envisions will involve connecting three 1,386-qubit multi-chip processors, which IBM calls Kookaburra for a total of 4,158-qubits.
To achieve this goal, IBM and its partners will need to develop tons of new software that can control and bind such systems together, while eliminating bugs that could entice quantum work.
“Our goal is to build quantum-centric supercomputers,” IBM researchers wrote in blog for the company’s plans. “The quantum-centric supercomputer will include quantum processors, classical processors, quantum communication networks and classical networks, all working together to completely transform the way we calculate.
To achieve its goals, IBM said it needed to address the challenge of scaling quantum processors by developing a runtime environment to provide quantum computing at increased speed and quality, and by introducing a server-free programming model that allows quantum and classical processors to work together without friction.
IBM plans to upgrade its current Qiskit Runtime software to experiment with algorithms for creating and working with quantum programs.
IBM said it would support direct Qiskit Runtime and cloud-based workflows in 2023 to bring a server-free approach to the core quantum software stack and give developers advanced simplicity and flexibility. This server-free approach will also mark a critical step in achieving intelligent and efficient distribution of problems between quantum and classical systems, IBM said.
During this time, the company will add the ability for quantum processors to run in parallel. In addition, IBM said it would develop low-range chip connectors to connect quantum chips to form a single, larger processor.
“In 2024 and 2025, we will introduce Qiskit Runtime error mitigation and suppression techniques so that users can focus on improving the quality of quantum hardware results. “These techniques will help lay the groundwork for quantum error correction in the future.”
The company said it believes it will partner by next year to begin prototyping quantum software applications for specific applications, starting with machine learning. By 2025, IBM said model developers will be able to explore quantum applications in machine learning, optimization, science and more.
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