IBM Sets Path to Quantum Advantage

New error mitigation techniques will enable quantum computing to evolve
Berenice Baker

July 22, 2022

IBM's System One quantum computer
IBM says new error mitigation techniques are key to achieving quantum advantage.IBM

IBM has said in a

blog post

that new error mitigation techniques will enable researchers to develop current quantum computing technology into faster and more powerful future fault-tolerant quantum computers.

Quantum advantage, demonstrating that a quantum computer can solve a real-world problem faster than a classical computer, is seen as an important step towards the scalingand eventual wider use of quantum computers.

Implementing quantum algorithms that perform better than classical devices requires a large, fault-tolerant quantum processor.

However, today’s technology is described as being in the noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) era of devices that are inferior to their classical counterparts. Noisy in this context means environmental factors can readily interfere with qubits.

Until fault-tolerant machines are developed, IBM says it has developed new error mitigation techniques so researchers can continue to make improvements to quantum computers with current noisy processors.

IBM’s

approach represents a mind shift away from attempting to achieve full error correction under certain circumstances. While fault tolerance remains the ultimate goal, IBM says its error mitigation techniques offer a path that will make quantum computing useful in solving real-world problems.

IBM quantum adoption vice-president Scott Crowder told Enter Quantum: "Error mitigation will enable early adopters to achieve quantum advantage. For a meaningful portion of the quantum community, they have imagined quantum advantage to be a single breakthrough moment with a fully fault-tolerant quantum computer.

“We're showing a fundamentally different path. With the combination of IBM Quantum's development roadmap and the innovation in error mitigation, businesses can use IBM Quantum's hardware and software to drive continuous improvement. In other words, they'll get value from quantum computing a lot sooner, and without having to overhaul their entire quantum strategy. Of course, we do intend to eventually deliver fault-tolerant quantum computing; we just don't view that as a requirement for businesses to start doing meaningful work with quantum.

“This makes the advantages for early adopters all the more real. Teams that develop quantum expertise today will soon be operating in a world where quantum computers can outperform classical for specific tasks. The longer businesses wait to get familiar with quantum, the bigger the gap will be with their competitors."

The blog expands on elements of IBM’s updated

quantum roadmap

that it released in May.

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