Quantum Supremacy Is a Thing and IBM Now Has It

November 18, 2021

I read “IBM Achieves Quantum Supremacy: Announces 127-qubit “Eagle” Quantum Processor at Quantum Summit 2021.” Maybe this is indeed accurate. I would like to ask IBM Watson, “Is this IBM marketing talk, or has Big Blue aced the Google and legions of Chinese quantum engineers?”

The write up reports:

IBM expects to achieve a 1,121-qubit quantum processor – and quantum advantage – by 2023.

This statement seems different from the headline. In fact, I expect to be named the next 77 year old analyst flying into space in 2023. The problem is that “expect” and “do” are quite different things to me.

Not to IBM, at least according to the article which quotes and IBM’er as saying:

“The arrival of the ‘Eagle’ processor is a major step towards the day when quantum computers can outperform classical computers at meaningful levels,” said Dr. Darío Gil, Senior Vice President, IBM and Director of Research. “Quantum computing has the power to transform nearly every sector and help us tackle the biggest problems of our time. This is why IBM continues to rapidly innovate quantum hardware design, build ways for quantum and classical workloads to empower each other, and create a global ecosystem that is imperative to the adoption of quantum computing.”

Yep, marketing talk based on some lab experiments. That means no quantum computer on your desk in the near future. Quantum supremacy is here at least in IBM’s view of its capabilities.

Okay, Google and Chinese engineers. Back to work. The amusing but somewhat bittersweet IBM news has been lost in the endless flow of content marketing.

Stephen E Arnold, November 18, 2021


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