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IBM launches Quantum System Two, powered by new Heron processor

At the IBM Quantum Summit Monday in New York, IBM launched IBM Quantum Heron, a 133-qubit processor that it said offers up to a five-fold improvement in error reduction over its predecessor.

The new processor powers IBM Quantum System Two, which was also unveiled at the event. The company’s first modular quantum computer, IBM said it is the cornerstone of IBM’s quantum-centric supercomputing architecture. The first unit, powered by three IBM Heron processors, is in operation at IBM’s Yorktown Heights, N.Y. facility.

“We are firmly within the era in which quantum computers are being used as a tool to explore new frontiers of science,” said Dario Gil, IBM senior vice president and director of research, in a release. “As we continue to advance how quantum systems can scale and deliver value through modular architectures, we will further increase the quality of a utility-scale quantum technology stack – and put it into the hands of our users and partners who will push the boundaries of more complex problems.”

Along with the system announcement, IBM revealed its quantum development roadmap, now extended to 2033, which includes new targets to improve the quality of gate operations and thus increase the size of quantum circuits.

Hardware isn’t much good without software, so along with the hardware, IBM announced that Qiskit 1.0, the first stable release of its quantum software development kit, will arrive in February 2024, and introduced Qiskit Patterns, which it described as “a programming template outlining the structure of quantum programs and a logical framework for building quantum algorithms and applications at scale.

“Taking advantage of the composability, containerization, and abstraction provided by Qiskit Patterns, users can seamlessly create quantum algorithms and applications from a collection of foundational building blocks and execute those Patterns using heterogeneous computing infrastructure such as Quantum Serverless.”

IBM is also fine-tuning its foundation model to allow generative AI, via watsonx, to help automate the development of quantum code for Qiskit.

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