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IBM unveils next-gen quantum chip: All you need to know

IBM is not the only quantum player targeting machines within the next few years

IBM unveiled a new quantum computing chip and machine that is expected to become the foundation of larger systems in the future.

Quantum computing is a field of research that aims to increase computing speeds beyond what is currently possible with classical silicon-based computers by leveraging the principles of quantum mechanics.

Numerous organisations, including Microsoft, Google, Baidu, and several startups and nation-states, are racing to develop quantum machines.

One of the biggest challenges over the years has been making quantum computers that are reliable enough to consistently outperform classical computers.

Researchers have been working to address the issue of data errors in quantum machines as they have grown in size to outpace classical computers.

IBM has recently announced that they have discovered a new method of connecting chips within machines and then connecting these machines with a new error correction code. This development could lead to the creation of powerful quantum machines by the year 2033.

The first machine that uses this technology is called Quantum System Two, which utilises three “Heron” chips.

IBM’s senior vice president and director of research, Dario Gil, has stated that progress will appear steady until 2029, when the full effect of the error-correction technologies comes into play.

After that, the machines should see a sharp uptick in capabilities, similar to how AI systems that developed slowly over the past 15 years became vastly more sophisticated over the past year.

Dario Gil states that IBM’s newest chips will need to be tied together and many things must be done together to make it practical. Otherwise, it’s just a paper exercise.

IBM is not the only quantum player targeting machines within the next few years. Startup PsiQuantum is also working with GlobalFoundries to make its chips and has plans to have a commercial machine within six years.

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