IBM touts ‘Quantum Serverless’ as it eyes path to 4,000-plus qubits

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IBM today updated its current quantum computing roadmap, which predicts a 4,000-plus qubit machine by 2025. His plan includes orchestration for more powerful combinations of classical and quantum resources.

Such combinations, known as “quantum-centric supercomputing”, will place the new quantum crew more firmly in the world of high-performance computing, where technologists face some of the most pressing challenges facing mankind.

IBM said it expects to deliver in 2023 software tooling that allows developers to run jobs that help them tap into both quantum and classical computing resources. IBM said it saw no slowdown in the steady progress of quantum scaling.

The company uses the term “serverless quantum” to describe an architecture that assigns work to classical or quantum diversity processors.

“Serverless Quantum is part of preparing the world for quantum-centric supercomputing,” said Jerry Chow, a partner at IBM and director of Quantum Infrastructure. He liked the effect of today’s resilient computing methods, “in the sense that you have computing resources on demand.”

Speaking with VentureBeat, Chow said the idea is that parts of the problem could be handled by classical CPUs, GPUs or non-classical QPUs or quantum processing units. This is enabled by a general service level that efficiently orchestrates workload assignments.

Better hardware and software methods for interchip communications are also important in this Quantum Quest, Chow indicated that he discussed future plans for quantum “circuit knitting”.

“There you can face big problems,” he said, “and find ways to divide them into small-order quantum circuits, and knit or take all the results and put them back together.”

The problems imagined are many times over, and some seem particularly pressing.

For example, mimicking nature with quantum systems is seen as a path to efficiency that can lead to significant environmental, social and governance improvements.

Also, world governments are now in a race to succeed in quantum computing, as quantum systems can break long-standing cryptographic coding practices. Viewers point out that opposition governments are now collecting encrypted data to process when quantum progress is made.

Sticking to their circuit weave

IBM has demonstrated serverless quantum capabilities in its Kiskit runtime software, including circuit knitting, which will support uniform work distribution in 2023. As well, improvements in error reduction and pressing are expected to improve the quality of quantum results, the company said. This is due for the kisket in 2024 and 2025 as part of the roadmap.

Bird is the word when it comes to code names for IBM quantum processors. Last year, IBM released the 127-qubit Eagle processor, which will be followed by Osprey this year, which is a 433-qubit unit. IBM will follow an increasingly powerful bunch of Cubit processors. IBM’s roadmap expects: 133-qubit Heron processor to appear in 2023; 462-quit flamingo processor in 2024; And a 4,158-qubit Kukabura device in 2025.

While Heron’s cubit count may seem like a step backwards, it’s important for IBM’s overall plans to knit clusters of cubit processors together. This is important for IBM’s continued scalability claims.

The thrilling thing about Heron is that it is defined in such a way that they would be classically controllable. [via] Similar control hardware infrastructure. That means effectively, we’re going to do quantum computing with classical communication and classical parallelization, “said Chow, who elaborates on IBM’s Quantum Roadmap at the Inside Quantum Technology Conference 2022 in San Diego, California this week.

Quantum timeline

The timelines for quantum computing have been closely watched by qubits since they first came out of the lab as part of physics experiments. A common joke is that today, at the turn of the century, “quantum computing is five to ten years away.”

But according to Brian Hopkins, an analyst at Forrester Research, IBM’s timeline for quantum computing has generally been realistic.

“IBM has the most detailed roadmap of any full-stack quantum computing vendors that I cover,” he told VentureBeat via email. “Furthermore, they are establishing credibility with the market by completing roadmap milestones as per their plan.”

It gives Forrester’s Hopkins confidence in IBM’s 4,000-plus cubit estimates, although he insists that IBM will still be able to demonstrate when its computers and software will benefit – in the form of positive ROI – for any problem domain.

Hopkins goes on to say that while this is valuable, the company will have more credibility when it comes to providing such benefits.

“Even when we take advantage of a problem area, quantum computers are measurable and powerful enough to take many years to apply to many areas where we see potential,” he said.

We like cubits – but.

Doubts about the quantum computing timeline are unlikely to subside, but components of IBM’s new timeline indicate that technology is advancing faster than some skeptics think.

While “qubit counts” will make headlines here and elsewhere, it takes a closer look at the technological advances surrounding qubit research, such as hybrids that combine classical and quantum computing with different parts of the problem.

“We like cubits – but the exact number is not that important [the fact] That we have defined the way for technology to keep scaling, “Chow said.

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