IBM unleashes the Eagle, the world's most powerful quantum processor
IBM has unveiled the Eagle, the world’s most powerful quantum processor. Boasting 127 quantum bits (qubits), the Eagle is a major step towards commercial quantum computers outperforming traditional machines.
Quantum computers take advantage of the quirky world of quantum physics to boost computing power to incredible new heights. In a classical computer, data is stored and processed in bits, represented by either a zero or a one. But in quantum computers, qubits can not only be in a zero or a one state, but a superposition of both at the same time. That means that each added qubit raises the potential processing power exponentially.
At 127 qubits, the Eagle is the most powerful quantum processor in the world right now, far surpassing China’s 113-qubit Jiuzhang 2.0, Google’s 72-qubit Bristlecone, and IBM’s own 65-qubit Hummingbird processor.
IBM says that the breakthrough is made possible by a new chip architecture that crams more qubits in. The qubits themselves are arranged on a single layer, which reduces their error rates, while the control wiring is spread out over several physical levels.
With its 127 qubits, IBM says that Eagle is the company’s first processor with power beyond the reach of traditional supercomputers, a milestone often called quantum advantage. It estimates that recreating one of the Eagle’s states on a regular computer would require more classical bits than there are total atoms in every single person on Earth.
However IBM isn’t the first to reach quantum advantage. Google claimed it back in 2019 with its 53-qubit Sycamore processor, but IBM clapped back saying that with better classical algorithms the same job could be done on existing supercomputers in a matter of days – hardly unreachable. Nevertheless, the first-generation Jiuzhang demonstrated the quantum advantage last year, conducting a certain calculation in a few minutes that would take a classical supercomputer 2.5 billion years.
Eagle is now available on the IBM Cloud to some members of the IBM Quantum Network. The company has already outlined its roadmap for future quantum processors, with plans to release the 433-qubit IBM Quantum Osprey next year, followed by the Quantum Condor in 2023, which will pack an astounding 1,121 qubits.