IonQ claims it has built the most powerful quantum computer yet

Kai Hudek, IonQ.

Note of the editor: This is mashed copy of several articles and IonQ’s press release. We still need feedback from the academic field to assess this breakthrough.

Trapped-ion quantum computing startup IonQ today announced the launch of its latest quantum computer, which features what IonQ calls “32 perfect qubits with low gate errors.”

Using IBM’s preferred quantum benchmark, IonQ expects to hit a quantum volume of 4,000,000. That’s a massive increase over the double-digit quantum volume numbers that IBM itself recently announced and it’s a pretty extraordinary claim on IonQ’s side, as this would make its system the most powerful quantum computer yet.

IonQ has never used this metric before. Through a spokesperson, IonQ also noted that it doesn’t necessarily think quantum volume is the best metric, but since the rest of the industry is using it, it decided to release this number. The company argues that its ability to achieve 99.9% fidelity between qubits has allowed it to achieve this breakthrough.

It’s worth noting that IonQ’s trapped-ion approach is quite different from IBM’s which makes it hard to compare raw qubit counts between different vendors. The quantum volume metric is meant to make it easier to compare these systems, however.

Using new error correction techniques, IonQ believes that it will only need 13 qubits to create a “near-perfect” logical qubit.

For now, IonQ’s new system will be available as a private beta, and it’ll be interesting to see if its early users will back up the company’s claims (unsurprisingly, given the magnitude of IonQ’s claims, there’s a bit of skepticism within the quantum computing community).

Later, the company will make it available through partners like Amazon with its Braket service and the Microsoft Azure Quantum Cloud.(TechCrunch)

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