Konstantin Emelyanov - Fotolia
IBM took the next step in its journey to reach quantum advantage, announcing it has achieved a quantum volume of 64.
The company reached its latest milestone by combining a number of new software and hardware techniques that in total resulted in IBM doubling overall performance of its quantum system from last year's quantum volume of 32.
IBM applied these improvements to a 27-qubit system to reach 64, according to Jamie Thomas, general manager of IBM systems strategy and development.
"This latest advancement was accomplished by taking a full-stack approach," Thomas said, speaking as part of a panel discussion on quantum computing. "We tuned all of the hardware and software elements of the system, including the superconducting processor and the electronics that support it."
Thomas said IBM has now deployed 28 quantum computers over the past four years through its Quantum Experience program, eight of which have a quantum volume of 32. All of the machines are accessible by third-party and corporate developers through the IBM Cloud.
"To get up to 64, you need a much more intimate knowledge of the hardware," said Jerry Chow, senior manager of the quantum system technology group at IBM. "We found ways of removing noise, using controls better and improving the way we change the readout pulses."
The quantum volume metric measures the length and complexity of circuits. The higher the quantum volume, the greater the chance a quantum system can solve real-world problems.
User interest in the technology appears to be picking up. In an international survey of more than 2,000 users conducted by market researcher IDC, 72% of respondents said they were interested in looking into the possibilities that quantum computing could offer. Just over 52% said they are planning to experiment with quantum computers over the next 18 months, 22% said they are currently testing and evaluating with a variety of quantum services and 11% are in the process of "operationalizing" quantum-based use cases.
Peter RuttenResearch director, IDC
The survey indicated the industries most interested in exploring the possibilities for quantum computing included chemicals and petroleum, distribution, logistics and financial services.
Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they planned to increase their use of quantum computers by 10% during the next 24 months, with 39% expecting to increase their use by 10% to 20%.
"What survey users most expect to get out of quantum computing is improved AI capabilities, improved security and better research and development," said Peter Rutten, research director at IDC's Enterprise Infrastructure Practice, who moderated the panel discussion. "They are looking to optimize both existing processes and new ones."
The latest techniques used to achieve quantum volume 64 will be available in the upcoming improvements to the IBM Cloud services, as well as IBM's Qiskit software development kit.