With quantum-centric supercomputing, a 100,000-qubit system would lay the foundation for tackling pressing global problems that today’s most advanced supercomputers might not be able to solve, IBM said. To achieve this goal, IBM has formed a global collaboration between industries and research institutions.
In collaboration with the University of Chicago, the University of Tokyo and IBM’s broader global ecosystem, IBM will work over the next decade to advance the underlying technologies for this system, as well as to design and build the required components at scale.
Going forward, IBM announced it would expand these partnerships to include Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, both of which are members of the Chicago Quantum Exchange and each host two Department of Energy quantum centers.
The two labs offer skills and expertise that can facilitate the delivery of the technologies envisioned in the race to build a quantum-centric supercomputer.
“In recent years, IBM has been at the forefront of global adoption of quantum technology,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman and CEO. “We have made significant progress on our path and mission to establish useful quantum technology worldwide, so that together with our partners we can actually start to research and develop a new class of supercomputing based on quantum technology.”
“Reaching large-scale breakthroughs in quantum technology requires deep-rooted and productive collaboration around the world and with a wide range of partners from industry, academia and government,” said Paul Alivisatos, President of the University of Chicago. “Quantum information science and technology stands at a crossroads where fundamental discoveries and technical innovation will lead to real breakthroughs.”
Plans for this quantum-centric supercomputer are expected to include innovation at every level of the computational stack, encompassing the convergence of quantum computing and quantum communications, and seamless integration of quantum and classical workflows across the hybrid cloud.
Since no such computer has ever been made before, the first step is to draw up a blueprint. The design must integrate classical and quantum computing and break new ground in quantum communication and computing technology.
The foundation of this system will be milestones IBM has already outlined in its Quantum Development Roadmap, such as the ability to scale and connect a growing number of quantum processors via quantum interconnects, and error mitigation technology to enable noisy yet powerful quantum processors fully exploitable, according to IBM.
By the end of 2023, IBM wants to present three cornerstones of its necessary architecture for quantum-centric supercomputers. One of them is the new 133 qubit processor “IBM Heron”. This processor is a complete redesign of IBM’s previous generations of quantum processors, with a new two-qubit gate to enable higher performance. It will also be compatible with future extensions to allow modular attached processors to increase the size of the computer.
The second is the introduction of IBM Quantum System Two. The new flagship system is designed to be modular and flexible to introduce scaling elements into the underlying components, including classic control electronics and a high-density cryogenic cabling infrastructure. This system should be online by the end of 2023.
The third is the introduction of quantum middleware, a set of tools for running workloads on both classical and quantum processors. This includes tools to decompose, run in parallel, and reconstruct workloads to enable efficient solutions at scale.
Over the next decade, IBM plans to work with university partners and its global quantum ecosystem to develop how its quantum processors can be connected via quantum interconnects. This work aims to enable high-efficiency, high-precision quantum operations between processors and a flexible and affordable system component infrastructure to enable scaling to 100,000 qubits.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information on the company’s website.