Quantum Computing Breakthrough
Recently, IBM announced their revolutionary innovation in the quantum computing space, their new Eagle quantum computing chip. October marked the announcement of China’s Jiuzhang 2 which utilized 60 qubits, placing it 10 million times faster than Google’s Sycamore. The IBM Eagle processor has more than double of the Jiuzhang 2, with 127 qubits that can be used to solve various problems. All of these companies and research institutes are striving to reach ‘quantum supremacy’, a term referring to the accomplishment of a calculation done by a quantum computer that would be impossible for classical computers.
The Eagle’s physical size is around a quarter, and qubits are different from classical bits used in computers, due to their ability to hold both 0 and 1 at the same time with superposition. Additionally, the great number of qubits on the chip increases the ‘memory space required to execute algorithms’ which will help in the long run to have quantum computers tackle more demanding challenges. As opposed to IBM’s previous chips – The 27-qubit Falcon and the 65-qubit Hummingbird – The Eagle efficiently utilizes a more efficient wiring system. Because each qubit needs wires to control them, wires to show the output, and refrigerate them. The Eagle uses multi-level wiring, with layers for the qubit output, the wiring, and more. Additionally, the Eagle chip uses a hexagonal lattice structure to hold the qubits, letting the qubits be more efficient and preserve coherence time.
The Future of Quantum Computing
Quantum computing is a promising field for the future, as it will allow for breakthroughs in several applications. The first application type is simulating quantum systems in physics, first proposed by physicists Richard Feynman and David Deutsch. These systems cannot be accurately modeled with classical algorithms and conventional computers. Additionally, quantum computers could be used for certain mathematical functions and cryptography, with cryptography experts working on making new systems that cannot be broken with quantum computing. Finally, quantum computers can significantly decrease search times through unsorted databases, with an algorithm developed by Lov Grover. IBM hopes to release another chip in the future, with the Osprey aimed at 400 qubits and the Condor with 1000 qubits. As such, they designed the System 2 cooling system to allow for the huge amounts of qubits needed to be cooled.