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IBM’s new 127-qubit processor is a major breakthrough in quantum computing

IBM has revealed its latest and most powerful quantum processor, and it represents a key breakthrough in the quantum computing industry.

Dubbed Eagle, the 127-qubit processor becomes the first of its kind to deliver more than 100 qubits. To illustrate just how powerful quantum computing systems are, it’s been a requirement until recently that their qubits have to be cooled at temperatures as cold as outer space.

IBM has announced its 127-qubit “Eagle” quantum processor.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In order to demonstrate the power of Eagle, IBM highlighted how a computer has typically required more bits than atoms found in every human in the world to successfully simulate the processor.

Due to the substantial quantity of qubits, Eagle is claimed to be the first processor ever created that cannot be simulated on a classic supercomputer.

By increasing the amount of qubits in a quantum computer, it allows highly sophisticated programs to function on such systems that would otherwise not be capable of running on a standard supercomputer.

“The arrival of the Eagle processor is a major step toward the day when quantum computers can outperform classical computers at meaningful levels,” said Dr. Darío Gil, senior vice president and director of research at IBM. “Quantum computing has the power to transform nearly every sector and help us tackle the biggest problems of our time.”

IBM aims to achieve “quantum advantage” by 2023.

The processor architecture of Eagle features new methods that place control components on several physical levels, while qubits have been incorporated into their own level. 

IBM also noted how it had to combine and improve techniques that originated in previous generations of IBM quantum processors so it could develop an architecture that includes advanced 3D packaging techniques. Ultimately, such functionality will allow the company to provide a strong foundation for its processors, which includes the forthcoming 1000-plus-qubit Condor chip.

As for plans pertaining to future IBM quantum systems, Condor in particular is expected to contain 1,121 qubits in total upon its planned launch in 2023. Eagle’s immediate successor, the 433-qubit Osprey, is scheduled for a 2022 release.

The company also aims to achieve “quantum advantage” by 2023. The term is attributed to quantum computers that can solve problems that are impossible to crack via a classical computer. Condor’s capabilities will help in accomplishing this goal.

Eagle will become available to select members of IBM’s Quantum Network, who have remote access to IBM’s quantum computers, in December. IBM will divulge more information related to its quantum systems at its annual Quantum Summit event taking place tomorrow, November 16

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