Image of the IonQ Ion Trap Chip

Here is a high-resolution picture of the IonQ ion trap (image credit is Kai Hudek). The ion qubits are suspended electromagnetically in the center above the thin slot you see in the middle of the bow tie. Control lasers pass across and above the surface of the chip perpendicular to the slot.

Yesterday, IonQ announced that they had the most powerful quantum computers in the world. They announced a 79 qubit trapped ion processor and a system with 160 qubit storage.

The IonQ Website is here

The Q2B conference website is at this link and was organized by QCware.

Highlights From the Nextbigfuture Interview with Stewart Allen

* IonQ systems are at room temperature
* IonQ manipulates ions with magnets and lasers and have software control on mostly FPGA chips
* IonQ are like atomic clocks, they do not have time limiting decoherence
* IonQ can invent and make any kind of quantum gate. It is a matter of software and tuning laser pulses.
* There are no idle errors, no readout errors and no qubit lifetime problem

Email Answer From IonQ About Fully Connected Qubits and Connectivity Tests

There is a reference on the IonQ webpage about 11-qubits being fully connected. This refers to a full connectivity test that they ran on one of their systems. In that particular test there were 13 qubits loaded. For technical reasons, they chose to use the center 11. The proof is, in the most basic terms, to test all pairs a large number of times. They then used that setup to run the BV-11 test that they showed the data for.

IonQ confirmed my observation of test scaling. The combinations of two-qubit interactions rises with the qubit count. That means the minimum required gate count for full entanglement rises roughly as a square (n*n, not 2^n) of the number of qubits. Here is a link to an online calculator for combinations.

Doing this connectivity test alone is insufficient to express the power of a quantum system; gate depth (count) and fidelity are also critical. However, they consider it a baseline for useful qubit count in a quantum system. Power and performance are topics that will be hotly debated for a long time as each algorithm will have different requirements. As with PC benchmarks, they suspect a suite of common algorithms and tests will emerge over time that will allow vendors to better provide side-by-side comparisons.


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