Dario Gil, Director, IBM Research: “Our vision is to take advantage of the quantum world without knowing anything about it” | technology

Born in Murcia 47 years ago, Dario Gil Albuquerque is IBM Vice President and Director of Research (IBM Research) developing quantum computing, dubbed to be the most disruptive technology of the century. His department has laid out a roadmap to be implemented with numerical precision, “even ahead of schedule,” according to the engineer. The latest achievement was the 433-kilobyte Osprey processor, with the ability to represent more states than the number of atoms in the visible universe. IBM’s Quantum Systems is behind 2,000 scientific publications and has the support of hundreds of companies working alongside multinational corporations to apply technology capable of revealing the origin of the universe and opening new doors for humanity in drug development and creativity. of new materials or in the future of energy. Gil Albuquerque, who has been in the US for more years than Spain, dreams of including his home country and Latin America in IBM’s quantitative ecosystem. He says, “It will happen.”

I ask. What does it mean to access 433 qubits using Osprey?

Answer. We are witnessing the development of quantum computing and how an industry is being created. To advance in technology, you have to create a community that creates value for all parties. At IBM, we’re guided by our own roadmap, which we shared with the industry two years ago, and on that path we’ve outlined the evolution of quantum processors. The first one we put in the cloud, in May 2016, it had five qubits, last year we went to 127, now we’re up to 433 and next year there will be one with more than 1,000. In addition, we’re tracking the path of software [programación]on how it developed. Our vision of quantum computing is that it is frictionless, and that you don’t have to know anything about the quantum world, except for its existence, in order to benefit from it. Osprey shows that we are delivering on our roadmap. The world’s largest chip was already the Eagle, with 127 qubits, but now, with 433, there is nothing like it in the world of superconductors.

s. Capacity greater than the atoms in the universe?

R was found. The power of quantum computing is related to the representation of information in the richest way. The number of states available within a quantum computer starts from two up to n, where n is the number of bits. If you have two to the power of 100 qubits, there are more cases than there are atoms on our planet. If you get two it raises to 300, more than in the universe. Even if you devoted all the atoms of the universe to storing zeros and ones, you wouldn’t have enough. There you see the exponential power of quantum computing.

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s. What are the limits of quantum computing?

R was found. It has three important vectors: the first is the number of bits; Second, the quality of these; And third, the speed of implementation. This year we have tripled in number of bits, four in quantum size (quality) and 10 in circuit execution speed. They are very important numbers about how we’re going.

Even if you devoted all the atoms of the universe to storing zeros and ones, you wouldn’t have enough to represent the number of states available inside a quantum computer.

s. Does Osprey really allow us to talk about quantum supremacy, a processor capable of performing a task that could not be performed by any classical computer in a reasonable amount of time?

R was found. I do not like this concept, as everyone knows. What we are trying to achieve is to create a sustainable quantitative advantage. This means combining enough qubits, quality, and speed to perform a more efficient calculation on a relevant science or business problem than a traditional computer. The first advantage is that quantum computers can no longer be simulated. We have created new systems that can no longer be efficiently emulated with a classic computer. But the limit for the next few years is a guarantee that these systems, with suppression and mitigation of errors, as well as with a high-quality execution speed, get a result that cannot be obtained in such an efficient way using a classic computer . We are making enough progress and hopefully in the next couple of years.

s. Will the error barrier be overcome?

R was found. When we put the first computer in the cloud, it had two or three errors per 100 operations. Now, in the most advanced systems, we have achieved one error per 1000 operations. We should get to one per 10,000. If we achieve this with appropriate levels of coherence, the time you have a qubit before a small part is made, this cocktail, combined with techniques for mitigating and suppressing arithmetic errors, will make possible the first demonstration of the quantum advantage.

We multiply the number of bits by three, four by quantitative size (quality) and 10 by circuit execution speed

s. Can the scientific community use Osprey?

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R was found. We will make it available within the IBM Quantum network for our customers and partners starting early next year. The Quantum Network already has more than 200 organizations, from large corporations to labs, universities and strategic partners around the world.

s. What is the use of quantum computing?

R was found. There are three big categories where they are developed. The first is about simulating everything that has to do with nature. In the industrial sector, companies like Boeing are modeling materials so that they have the best properties. Others, such as BP, use it for power and Daimler works in batteries. In other words, everything depends on materials, physics and chemistry. The second area is data that has a structure. It is the basis of encryption or machine learning [aprendizaje automático]. That mathematical rule is very horizontal. For example, the most involved sector is the financial sector. Quantum computing teams within companies are formed to explore use cases and give them access to the best systems. There are also nearly 2,000 scholarly publications created using IBM computers. It has become a first-class scientific instrument. Qiskit, the open source quantum community [programas de código abierto] The most popular in the world, it has 1.8 million downloads for quantum application development. Since we launched the first systems in 2016, we have seen how the sector has become an industry that is already among the top five technology priorities for the vast majority of developed countries. Industrial fabric is advancing. We have set up quantum computing centers in the United States, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Canada…

s. And in Spain and Latin America?

R was found. it will happen. I’ve always had a great desire to do this, but these things take time. I am convinced that it will happen and will not be in the long run. In Spain and throughout Latin America there is an extraordinary talent and a very great interest. It’s a priority, and for me, nothing will make me more excited.

The limit for the next few years is to ensure that quantum systems, with error suppression and mitigation, as well as speed of quality implementation, obtain a result that cannot be obtained in such an efficient way with a classical computer. We are making enough progress and hopefully in the next couple of years

s. Was the key to IBM’s success in developing quantum computing without disdain for classical computing?

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R was found. They are complementary. The revolution we are experiencing in the world of computing is the most exciting moment since the creation of the first digital systems in the 1940s. The new revolution is more than just qubits. It is a mixture of bits, neural networks, and qubits. Bits represent high-precision computing, the neural networks that form the basis of artificial intelligence [inteligencia artificial] and quantum bits. The key is to combine them. It will always be a hybrid system of classical and quantitative information. Harmony is the key to the future. Osprey’s design is based on that modularity so that we can have multiple chips with thousands of qubits in the future by combining multiple systems. We are already designing systems that contain tens of thousands of qubits. We have seen CPU based supercomputing systems [unidades centrales de procesamiento] And in the past decade, GPU-based supercomputers have been [aceleradores de IA]. We will now create computing systems where we will add to these two quantum processors. The second recently announced IBM Quantum System is our vision for creating the first quantum supercomputers. To achieve this goal, we will be pioneers in unifying the fields of quantum computing and communication. We will create quantum entanglement for qubits on different chips and even systems. For the latter, we have to invent the so-called converter, which would allow us to go from 5 GHz to terahertz optical frequencies. We are simultaneously working on what is today, what is tomorrow and ten years from now.

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