During IBM’s annual Quantum Summit in New York, the company unveiled several innovations now available to interested businesses. These include the IBM Quantum Heron processor and the Quantum System Two quantum computer, both of which bring the future of quantum computing closer to enterprises and, at the same time, represent a significant step toward making quantum technology accessible to average users.
IBM has a strong foundation in quantum hardware, software, and theory and claims to have a roadmap of improvements and new products extending into 2033, such as the aforementioned innovations.
The IBM Quantum Heron is focused on reducing errors rather than making a performance leap. Adding more qubits isn’t as important as minimizing the number of possible errors before taking the next step. As a result, IBM focused its efforts on this aspect, and the Quantum Heron is heralded as the company’s highest-performing quantum processor.
While specific architectural details are unavailable, IBM’s Quantum Heron processor boasts up to a five-fold improvement in error reduction compared to its predecessor, the IBM Quantum Eagle. The processor is intended for a new wave of “public utility” products aimed at small businesses, which precedes the arrival of traditional consumer or office PCs using quantum technology.
The development and preparation of IBM Quantum Heron for sale have taken four years and 133 qubits due to the challenges of reducing errors five-fold. At present, it will not be available for direct purchase like AMD EPYC or Intel Xeon processors; instead, it will be destined for cloud services, where businesses can hire IBM services, incorporating the Quantum System Two.
IBM Quantum System Two serves as a foundation for the future of cloud computing. Companies can leverage the power of a quantum computer through the Quantum System Two, which integrates a new generation of infrastructure called “scalable cryogenics.”
IBM claims that this architecture combines quantum communication and computing in an unprecedented way with classic computing resources, such as traditional servers, to “exploit a middleware layer that will appropriately integrate quantum and classical workflows.”
The Quantum System Two uses three IBM Quantum Heron processors, each with 133 qubits, for a total of 399 qubits. In addition to the power of traditional servers, IBM opens doors to the future and businesses on an impressive roadmap.
Specifically, IBM anticipates releasing the Heron 5K in 2023, followed by the Flamingo 5 in 2025, Flamingo 7.5K in 2026, and two further variants called 10K and 15K in 2027 and 2028. The Starling architecture will debut in 2029, raising the bar with 100M and 200 qubits, leading to the last projected architecture, Blue Jay, with 1 billion gates and 2,000 qubits, in 2033.
With the IBM Quantum System Two and Quantum Heron, the era of quantum CPUs and PCs for everyone is one step closer.