This week at CES, IBM announced that its newest quantum computer, Raleigh, doubled its Quantum Volume (QV). This is important because the QV is a measure of the increasing capability of quantum computers solve of complex, real-world problems. But how does an increase in QV relate to existing measures such as semiconductor performance as dictated by Moore’s Law? Before answering that question, it’s necessary to understand what is really meant by a Quantum Volume.
QV is a hardware-agnostic metric that IBM defined to measure the performance of quantum computers. It serves as a benchmark to the progress being made by quantum computers to solve real-world problems.
QV takes into account a number of factors effecting quantum computations including qubits, connectivity, and gate and measurement errors. Material improvements to underlying physical hardware, such as increases in coherence times, reduction of device crosstalk, and software circuit compiler efficiency, can point to measurable progress in Quantum Volume, as long as all improvements happen at a similar pace, details the IBM website.
Raleigh reached a Quantum Volume of 32 this year, up from 16 last year. This improvement stems from an improved hexagonal lattice connectivity structure with improved coherence aspects. According to IBM, the lattice connectivity had an impact on reduced gate errors and exposure to crosstalk.
Over the last year, a number of quantum computing achievements have been reached, notes IBM. Among the highlights was the offering of quantum computing services by a number of traditional cloud providers. Naturally, IBM was on that list. Other notables were Amazon, which in December 2019 first offered select enterprise customers the ability to experiment with quantum-computing services over the cloud.
The Amazon platform will let clients explore different ways to benefit from quantum computers by developing and testing quantum algorithms in simulations. For example, quantum computers could be used for simulating climate change, solving optimization problems, cybersecurity and quantum chemistry, among others. Clients will also have access to early-stage quantum-computing hardware from providers including D-Wave Systems Inc., IonQ Inc. and Rigetti Computing.
Now let’s see have the Quantum Volume measurement relates to transistor performance as delineated by Moore’s Law.
|Image Source: IBM / Quantum Volume Growth Chart