Path to tech singularity: IBM lays out its quantum computing roadmap

Path to tech singularity: IBM lays out its quantum computing roadmap


Society has not yet reached singularity, the hypothetical point in time at which technological growth surpasses human knowledge and will either destroy the world or save it. In a newly published roadmap, IBM today set stellar goals when it comes to a potential technology to reach that singularity: quantum computing.

IBM’s roadmap details how Big Blue in the short term is planning to deliver a quantum processor that has more than 1,000 qubits of processing power by the end of 2023

IBM’s current fastest processors top out at 65 qubits, and Intel Corp.’s fast current quantum processor runs at 49 qubits. As Intel notes, proper quantum processing uses “superposition and entanglement potentially enable computing at unprecedented levels of massive parallelism.”

The 2023 planned quantum processor, dubbed the IBM Quantum Condor, isn’t simply a matter of delivering extremely fast processing power but also requires supporting technology. The short version is that IBM is developing a fridge, but not just any cooling device. To cool the Quantum Condor, IBM has developing a “dilution refrigerator larger than any currently available commercially.”ibmq1

IBM’s path to Condor — the company names its chips after birds — were also detailed in its roadmap. The company plans to offer a Hummingbird chip with 65 qubits later this year, up from its current 27-qubit Falcon. It plans to offer an Eagle Chip with 127 qubits in 2021 and Osprey with 433 qubits in 2022.

Beyond 2023 is where things get either amazing or scary depending on the potential effect that a singularity could have on society. IBM describes a path to 1 million qubits and beyond. The exponential rise to that level of computing power potentially has no end because Moore’s law doesn’t apply to quantum computing.

Images: IBM

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