IBM Doubles Its Quantum Volume to 32

IBM announced a new 28-qubit quantum system backend, Raleigh and achieved a system demonstrating Quantum Volume of 32. This is double the quantum volume of 16 of a prior IBM system.

Quantum Volume (QV) is a hardware-agnostic metric that we defined to measure the performance of a real quantum computer. Each system IBM develop brings us along a path where complex problems will be more efficiently addressed by quantum computing; therefore, the need for system benchmarks is crucial, and simply counting qubits is not enough. Quantum Volume takes into account the number of qubits, connectivity, and gate and measurement errors. Material improvements to underlying physical hardware, such as increases in coherence times, reduction of device crosstalk, and software circuit compiler efficiency, can point to measurable progress in Quantum Volume, as long as all improvements happen at a similar pace.

Generational cycles of learning

Since IBM deployed their first system with five qubits in 2016, they have progressed to a family of 16-qubit systems, 20-qubit systems, and (most recently) the first 53-qubit system. Within these families of systems, roughly demarcated by the number of qubits (internally we code-name the individual systems by city names, and the development threads as different birds), we have chosen a few to drive generations of learning cycles (Canary, Albatross, Penguin, and Hummingbird).

IBM is continuing to increase qubits while reducing errors.