IBM and Universities Form $100 Million Partnership for 100,000-Qubit Quantum Supercomputer

IBM, the University of Tokyo, and the University of Chicago announced at the G7 Summit that they are entering a landmark 10-year partnership to develop a quantum-centric supercomputer powered by 100,000 qubits. Quantum-centric supercomputing is, to date, unrealized. A 100,000-qubit system would provide a foundation to address the world’s most pressing problems that even today’s most advanced supercomputers cannot solve.

IBM Quantum System Two (See below) is a modular and flexible system that combines multiple processors in a single system with communication links.

A visual rendering of IBM Quantum’s 100,000-qubit quantum-centric supercomputer, expected to be deployed by 2033. (Credit: IBM)

The powerful quantum system could unlock new understandings of chemical reactions and the dynamics of molecular processes, enabling researchers to study climate change, discover materials to build batteries for electric vehicles and energy grids towards the goal of being cleaner and more sustainable, and uncover more effective and energy-efficient fertilizers.

By partnering with the University of Chicago, the University of Tokyo, and IBM’s broader global ecosystem, IBM will work to advance the underlying technologies for this system and design and build the necessary components at scale. The partnerships will eventually include Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, both of which are members of the Chicago Quantum Exchange and home to two respective Department of Energy quantum hubs. They offer capabilities and expertise that can facilitate delivering the technologies behind a quantum-centric supercomputer. Innovation will involve all levels of the computing stack and encompass the convergence of quantum computing and quantum communication fields and the seamless integration of quantum and classical workflows via the hybrid cloud. The first step will be to lay out a design blueprint that integrates classical and quantum computers and break new ground in quantum communication and computing technology.

The foundation of this system will include milestones IBM has already outlined on its Quantum Development Roadmap. This includes the ability to scale and connect growing numbers of quantum processors through quantum interconnects and technology to mitigate errors and fully harness noisy yet powerful quantum processors.

There will be three cornerstones of a necessary architecture for quantum-centric supercomputers. One is the new 133-qubit ‘IBM Heron’ processor, a complete redesign of IBM’s previous generations of quantum processors, with a new two-qubit gate for higher performance. The second is the introduction of IBM Quantum System Two, designed to be modular and flexible to introduce scaling elements in its underlying components. Third is the introduction of middleware for quantum: tools to run workloads on both classical and quantum processors.

Over the next decade, the work will aim to enable high-efficiency, high-fidelity inter-processor quantum operations, and a reliable, flexible, and affordable system component infrastructure to allow scaling to 100,000 qubits. For more about the path to a 100,000-qubit quantum-centric supercomputer, read the IBM Research blog.

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