IBM Research Staff Member Katie Pooley examines a cryostat with the new prototype of a commercial quantum processor inside

IBM has built and tested two new quantum processors, far in advance of its previous best 5-qubit processor. They will form the foundation of upcoming systems.

First is a freely-accessible 16-qubit processor, which can be reached through the IBM Cloud; while the second, a prototype commercial 17-qubit processor, is at least’ twice as powerful as what is available to the public on the IBM Cloud today. This 17-qubit processor ‘leverages significant materials, device, and architecture improvements’, and will form the core of the first IBM Q early-access systems.

IBM Q is the company’s move to build commercially-available universal quantum computing systems, for business and science applications. Systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud, which the public have been using to access IBM’s quantum processors for more than a year; to date, they have run more than 300,000 quantum experiments using the platform.

The company has adopted a new metric to measure the computational power of quantum computing systems, called Quantum Volume. The metric accounts for the number and quality (an important way of increasing quantum power) of qubits, circuit connectivity, and error rates of operation. The 17-qubit processor is a significant advance in Quantum Volume; and, over the coming years, IBM plans to increase the metric further, including incorporating 50- or more qubits.

Quantum computers can achieve much greater computational power than classical computers. Instead of bits made of ones and zeroes, qubits (quantum bits) can act as both a one and a zero at the same time (known as superposition’). Another difference from classic computing is entanglement’, which can tell an observer how one qubit will act by observing another. Superposition and entanglement are responsible for much of the extra processing power that quantum computers can achieve.

Beta access to the 16-qubit processor is available through Github.

Excerpt from:

IBM boosts power of quantum computing processors as it lays … – http://www.computing.co.uk

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