IBM hits new quantum computing milestone

The company has achieved a Quantum Volume of 64 in one of its client-deployed systems, putting it on par with a Honeywell quantum computer.

IBM on Thursday announced it's reached a new quantum computing milestone, hitting its highest Quantum Volume to date. Using a 27-qubit client-deployed system, IBM achieved a Quantum Volume of 64. 

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Quantum Volume is a metric that determines how powerful a quantum computer is. It measures the length and complexity of quantum circuits, the building blocks of quantum applications. Just two months ago, Honeywell similarly announced it had a quantum computer running client jobs with a Quantum Volume of 64. Honeywell reached the milestone with just a 6-qubit system. 

IBM's previous Quantum Volume milestone, announced in January, was 32. The company said it reached a Quantum Volume of 64 through a series of new software and hardware techniques applied to a system already deployed within the IBM Q Network, a network of developers and industry professionals designed to collectively advance quantum computing. 

More specifically, IBM said it achieved its improved results with a set of techniques that leveraged hardware to optimally run the quantum volume circuits. The methods should improve any quantum circuit run on any IBM Quantum system, the company said. They'll be available in upcoming releases to the IBM Cloud software services, as well as the cross-platform open source software development kit (SDK) Qiskit.

"IBM's full-stack approach gives a unique avenue to develop hardware-aware applications, algorithms and circuits, all running on the most extensive and powerful quantum hardware fleet in the industry," Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and VP of IBM Quantum, said in a statement.

IBM has made 28 quantum computers available on the IBM Cloud over the last four years, with eight systems running a Quantum Volume of 32.