IBM says it will soon surpass classical computers

IBM says it will soon surpass classical computers

The logo for IBM is seen at the banking and financial conference SIBOS in Toronto.

Reuters International Business Machines said on Monday that it has designed a new quantum computing chip that its executives believe will let quantum systems start to surpass classical computers at some tasks within the next two years.

IBM said its Eagle computing chip has 127 so-called qubits that can represent information in quantum form. Classical computers use bits that must be either a 1 or a 0, but qubits can be both a 1 and a 0 simultaneously.

It is possible that quantum computers could be much faster than their classical counterparts, but qubits are extremely hard to build and require huge cryogenic refrigerators to operate correctly. IBM says its new Eagle chip is the first to have more than 100 qubits, while Apple Inc's newest M 1 Max chip has 57 billion transistors -- a rough proxy for bits.

IBM said that new techniques learned in building the chip, which is manufactured in New York state, will eventually produce more qubits when combined with other advances in the quantum computer's refrigeration and control systems. The company said it plans to build an Osprey chip in 2022 with 433 qubits and a Condor chip 1,121 qubits.

The company claims that it will be close to quantum advantage, the point at which quantum computers can beat classical computers.

According to Dar o Gil, a senior vice president at IBM and head of his research division, that does not mean that quantum computers will surpass traditional ones all at once. What IBM envisions is a world where parts of a computing application run on traditional chips and some parts run on quantum chips, depending on what works best for each task.

We believe that we will be able to achieve a demonstration of quantum advantage within the next couple of years. Gil said that was our mission.