IBM establishes Quantum Advantage roadmap

IBM achieves highest quantum volume to date image

IBM achieves highest quantum volume to date image

Moore's Law holds that the number of transistors that can be packed onto a silicon microchip doubles roughly every two years (although there are signs things are slowing down).

IBM Q 5 Tenerife, a five-qubit device, has a Quantum Volume of four while the IBM Q 20 Tokyo, with 20 qubits, has a Quantum Volume of eight.

IBM revealed the results at the 2019 American Physical Society March Meeting, That venue shows just how far quantum computing has to go before it moves from physics research to more down-to-earth engineering and computer science. According to IBM, "the higher the Quantum Volume, the more real-world, complex problems quantum computers can potentially solve, such as simulating chemistry, modeling financial risk, and supply chain optimization".

Quantum Computing will render much of today's encryption unsafe, says Dr. Andrew Shields, Cambridge Research Laboratory of Toshiba Research Europe, but Quantum Cryptography could be the solution. IBM quantum computers reached quantum volume of 4 in 2017, then 8 in 2018, and now 16 with the Q System One. So here's another quantum Moore's Law prediction: the volume of PR devoted to promoting quantum yardsticks is going to double-and perhaps even quadruple-every year.

Microsoft has announced that it is extending its efforts in the field of quantum computing, announcing the Microsoft Quantum Network - but is still years away from the addition of quantum computing resources to its Azure cloud computing platform.

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The company argues that this is a more accurate way to measure the performance of a practical quantum computer compared to comparing the number of qubits alone.

Potential use cases, such as precisely simulating battery-cell chemistry for electric vehicles, delivering a quadratic speedup in derivative pricing and many others are will emerge. IBM Q system progress since 2017 presents a similar early growth pattern, supporting the premise that quantum volume will need to double every year, presenting a clear roadmap toward achieving Quantum Advantage.

That doubling is a quantum parallel to Moore's Law, the famous observation by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore about the exponential progress of conventional computer chips.

IBM Q System One has doubled the 20-qubit performance over IBM's earlier IBM Q Network 20-qubit system, using a measure that IBM proposed last November [PDF] as a means of measuring disparate quantum computing systems, which they call Quantum Volume (QV).

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