IBM Quantum Computers Roadmap

A look at IBM’s roadmap to advance quantum computers from today’s noisy, small-scale devices to larger, more advance quantum systems of the future. Credit: StoryTK for IBM

There have been a lot of articles and papers about the post of Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President, IBM Quantum.

We’d like to emphasize on major information embedded in this post.

First, this is an official roadmap. It’s not startup bullshit or slideware. IBM is clearly announcing its quantum development plans as well as the company used to disclose its Intel-based servers roadmap some twenty years ago. Business as usual. Quantum business.

Tomorrow (2021), IBM will launch its 127-qubit IBM Quantum Eagle processor. The 100-qubit milestone will be achieved. This beauty will include several (some patented) outstanding technologies from IBM : silicon vias (TSVs), hexagonal qubit arrangement, “heavy-hexagonal” error-correcting code, real-time computing. That will be a major breakthrough.

In terms of scale (and scalability), a 1,000-qubit device seems to be a pragmatic limit since currently commercially available refrigerator systems are limited in size. By the way, cooling is far from the most complex issues to cope to scale up but it’s definitely a problem quantum computers vendors must address. Consequently IBM has designed a 10-foot-tall and 6-foot-wide “super-fridge,” internally codenamed “Goldeneye,” with a million-qubit system in mind.

In 2023, the 1,121-qubit IBM Quantum Condor processor will be the next breakthrough, an inflection point as IBM states. Does IBM master now all the required technologies to design and manufacture such a quantum beast is the one-dollar question.

All the quantum community is now waiting for the competitors reactions.