IBM unveils its most powerful quantum computer yet: Osprey

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By Louis Allen - 

As US multinational technology giant International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) sets its sights on taking another massive leap, it has unveiled its most powerful quantum processor to-date: Osprey.

IBM’s newest Osprey machine boasts 433 quantum bits (qubits) – three times that of its Eagle machine, which was released last year.

Osprey also contains more qubits than Google’s 53-qubit computer called Sycamore, and two times as many qubits as Xanadu’s Borealis.

IBM aims to take an even bigger leap forward in 2023, launching a newer quantum processor, the Condor.

The tech giant said, as part of its roadmap, the Condor will contain 1,121 qubits. IBM also remains focused on releasing a modular processor called Heron, which can stack multiple 133-qubit units together to create more powerful quantum processors.

IBM director of research Dario Gil said the company’s plans are in motion to launch a computer with over 1,000 qubits, but it will also look at new approaches moving forward.

“As we push the limits of the size of the Osprey chip that we’re announcing, if you look at it, it’s really big already. Next year, 1,000 is going to be very big,” he said.

“So, after that, we have been designing and engineering the whole architecture for quantum computing based on modularity.”

IBM Quantum System Two

IBM’s newest modular system approach will be called the Quantum System Two, and is set to be released by the end of 2023.

The Quantum System Two forms the basis of the company’s quantum supercomputers, hosting multiple processors with communication links between them.

IBM said its efforts are steppingstones towards achieving its goal of building a quantum system with more than 4,000-qubits by 2025.

“Quantum System Two is the first truly modular quantum computing system so that you can continue to scale to larger and larger systems over time,” Mr Gil said.

“Modularity means the chips themselves are going to have to be interconnected to one another.”

Quantum System Two will be able to create a “quantum-centric supercomputing”, though connecting multiple together.

IBM said it will be able to build a system with up to 16,632 qubits by linking three of the systems.

Paving the way for quantum computers

Despite being the backbone of technological advancement across past decades, traditional computers have started making way for newer and more advanced quantum computers.

Quantum computers, in the future, will be able to speed up calculations millions of times faster than the fastest super computers today, according to experts.

However, there still remains many questions surrounding quantum computers and the best way for them to be created, as varying companies make different claims about the power of their qubits.

IBM has more than 20 quantum computers around the world, which customers can access through the cloud.

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