Defining a Quantum Computer’s Power: Is Quantum Volume the Right Measure?

IBM Q Dilution Refrigerator. Reducing the cost of the qubit may come with reduced need for such novel devices as this cooling unit. (Photo taken at 2018 ASCE. [Credit: Graham Carlow])

Measuring Progress in the ‘Noisy’ Era of Quantum Computing

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+  Since IBM began publicizing the term more starting in late 2019, quantum volume has come up a number of times in the quantum computing papers and press releases of IBM and other companies such as Honeywell. But there is already at least one tech company CEO floating the idea that the end of quantum volume’s usefulness might be in sight.

+  While discussing IonQ’s latest quantum computing developments in an Ars Technica interview, CEO Peter Chapman talked about how improvements in the reduction of noise could effectively lead to a high-fidelity, 32-qubit system with a quantum volume of approximately 4 million. Within 18 months, he suggested, quantum volume numbers could grow so large that researchers might need to rethink the definition of quantum volume to retain its usefulness.

IBM’s concept of quantum volume tries to measure quantum computing progress in ways beyond counting qubits

 +  For practical purposes, it’s mostly big quantum computing industry players such as IBM that are currently concerned about quantum volume, says Javad Shabani, an assistant professor of physics and chair of the Shabani Lab at New York University. That’s because he and other academic researchers generally don’t have hardware access to such large quantum computing systems, even if more companies are offering cloud-based access to such systems for programming purposes.

+  Still, Shabani sees quantum volume as a useful concept that defines quantum computing progress in a more meaningful way than simply counting qubits. Like Lidar, he suggests that quantum volume will remain relevant as long as noise remains a limiting factor for quantum computers—whether that is the case for the next five years or the next decade or more.

Source:  IEEE Spectrum.  Jeremy Hsu,  Measuring Progress in the ‘Noisy’ Era of Quantum Computing…

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