(ZDNet) IBM has announced the general availability of Qiskit Metal, an open-source platform that automates parts of the design process for quantum chips, and which IBM promised will now let “anyone” design quantum hardware.
Big Blue detailed the progress made with Metal since the tool was first announced late last year as part of the company’s larger Qiskit portfolio, which provides open-source tools for creating programs that can run on IBM’s cloud-based quantum devices.
While most of Qiskit’s resources focus on building applications that can be executed on quantum machines, Metal targets a brand-new audience, providing software to help design the components that make up the hardware itself.
The idea is to let users play around with pre-built components on the platform to produce state-of-the-art chips for superconducting quantum devices in a matter of minutes – a process that traditionally takes months of manual design, analysis and revisions for scientists in the lab.
Qiskit Metal is, at first glance, fairly straightforward. The process starts with setting targets for the chip, such as a particular qubit frequency or qubit-qubit entanglement; users can then design an initial layout in a few minutes, using a library of pre-defined, customizable quantum components.
Metal then carries out both a classical and a quantum analysis to predict the performance of the device. “This is all the stuff you would normally do manually, which I had to do all the time,” says Minev. The platform can anticipate parameters such as qubit frequencies, convergence or entanglement, letting users go back and forth to tweak their model until the optimal design is found.

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