IBM sets target for quantum computer business

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said the Cloud major aims to have more-than-4,000 qubit quantum computer ready by 2025, a jump from its hardware with 127 qubits today.
IBM Quantum ComputingCompanies for years have touted quantum computing’s potential, with little to show for it beyond error-prone machines and basic applications with early clients. IBM’s main clients include Exxon Mobil and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings.

Arvind Krishna said that the machine expected in 2025 with thousands of qubits will at least begin to open practical and commercial opportunities, Reuters news report said.

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IBM is not alone in its chase. Governments and companies will invest nearly $16.4 billion in quantum development by the end of 2027, according to market research company IDC.

Rival Alphabet’s Google has aimed to develop a computer with 1,000,000 qubits by the end of this decade. Amazon.com has partnered with companies such as Rigetti Computing, which expects to reach 4,000 qubits in 2026.

Arvind Krishna said while supply-chain disruptions have not slowed IBM’s efforts, the tech company experienced a 0.5 percent to 1 percent impact in its overall hardware business from COVID-19 lockdowns in China. IBM now keeps six months’ worth of stock instead of just one to counter disruptions, he said.

IBM on Tuesday also released its annual survey on AI adoption, showing that 35 percent of over 7,500 surveyed businesses across five continents were using some form of the technology, up from 31 percent last year.

Shortages of skilled workers and data to train AI systems were holding companies back, though a tipping point was coming, he said.

IBM originally announced its quantum roadmap in 2020. Since then, the company has delivered on each of the targets on its timeline. This includes IBM Eagle, a 127-qubit processor with quantum circuits that cannot be reliably simulated exactly on a classical computer, and whose architecture laid the groundwork for processors with increasingly more qubits.

Additionally, IBM has delivered a 120x speedup in the ability to simulate a molecule using Qiskit Runtime, IBM’s containerized quantum computing service and programming model, compared to a prior experiment in 2017.

Later this year, IBM expects to continue the previously laid out targets on its roadmap and unveil its 433-qubit processor, IBM Osprey.

In 2023, IBM will progress on its goals to build a frictionless development experience with Qiskit Runtime and workflows built right in the cloud, to bring a serverless approach into the core quantum software stack and give developers advanced simplicity and flexibility.

This serverless approach will also mark a critical step in achieving the intelligent and efficient distribution of problems across quantum and classical systems. On the hardware front, IBM intends to introduce IBM Condor, the world’s first universal quantum processor with over 1,000 qubits.

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