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IBM develops prototype 50 qubit processor

IBM has announced two quantum processor upgrades for its IBM Q early-access commercial systems. These upgrades are said to be the result of the rapid advances it has made in quantum hardware.

In the first move, IBM says the first IBM Q systems available online to clients will have a 20 qubit processor; a result of improvements in superconducting qubit design, connectivity and packaging. Meanwhile, it has also built and measured an operational prototype 50 qubit processor, which will feature in the next generation of IBM Q systems.

The hardware advances are a result of three generations of development since IBM launched a working quantum computer online in May 2016. In that period, IBM has made 5 and 16 qubit systems available for public access.

“We are, and always have been, focused on building technology with the potential to create value for our clients and the world,” said Dario Gil, vice president of AI and IBM Q with IBM Research. “The ability to reliably operate several working quantum systems and put them online was not possible just a few years ago. Now, we can scale IBM processors up to 50 qubits. These latest advances show that we are quickly making quantum systems and tools available that could offer an advantage for tackling problems outside the realm of classical machines.”

Graham Pitcher

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