IBM unleashes Quantum System Two, Condor, Heron, Qiskit 1.0
As another IBM Quantum Summit begins this week in New York, IBM seems more determined than ever to remind everyone that it’s among the pioneers of quantum computing, leading and defining the space with its rapidly growing family of quantum systems, processors and hardware.
That also essentially was the feeling one got from a “60 Minutes” story televised Sunday night in which IBM was prominently featured, along with Google. In IBM’s case, the spotlight landing on its efforts was exquisitely timed to this week’s formal unveiling of IBM Quantum System Two, as well as the company’s newest quantum processor, a new version of its Qiskit software, and the debut of an expanded quantum technology roadmap from IBM.
IBM Quantum System Two, located in Yorktown Heights, New York, is the company’s first modular quantum computer and cornerstone of the company’s quantum-centric supercomputing architecture. It arrives on schedule two years after it was first teased at the 2021 IBM Quantum Summit.
IBM also this week announced its 1,121-qubit Condor and its 133-qubit IBM Quantum Heron processor. In a press briefing before the summit, IBM officials called Condor “unprecedented,” with “all of its qubits yielding on a single chip that further has a 50% increase in qubit density [over previous chips]. Meanwhile, Heron provides “up to a five fold improvement in error reduction compared to our flagship [127-qubit] Eagle processor.”
IBM also announced that it has expanded its Quantum Development Roadmap, which typically offers a five-year glimpse into the quantum future, into a 10-year roadmap that is separated into “development” and “innovation” tracks continuing into 2033. Notably, IBM officials cited 2029 as a key year on this roadmap, when error mitigation efforts give way to error correction and the ability for IBM to run 100 million gates on 100 million qubits.
In regard to software. IBM said Qiskit Version 1.0 will be available in February 2024. It will have new features, including Qiskit Patterns, an easier way for quantum developers to create code. It is based in a collection of tools to simply map classical problems, optimize them to quantum circuits using Qiskit, executing those circuits using Qiskit Runtime, and then post-process the results. With Qiskit Patterns, combined with Quantum Serverless, users will be able to build, deploy, and execute workflows integrating classical and quantum computation in different environments, such as cloud or on-prem scenarios, IBM said.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the IBM Quantum Summit later this week.
Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.