I am incredibly excited to unveil IonQ’s new quantum computer, the most powerful on the market. The system smashes all previous records with 32 perfect qubits1 with gate errors low enough to feature a quantum volume of at least 4,000,000. Getting down to the technology brass tacks: the hardware features perfect atomic clock qubits and random access all-to-all gate operations, allowing for efficient software compilation of a variety of applications. This vastly superior design is essential to enable the system to scale up. This is a very proud moment, one that validates our trapped-ion approach and puts us in prime position to improve upon our next generation systems and continue pushing the industry forward.
We’re on the precipice of a quantum revolution, beyond what we have seen with artificial intelligence. And I believe that the 21st century will be the era of quantum computing, as it holds the potential to transform business, society, and the world we live in. If you’re unsure of this fact, look to the world’s leading investors, technology companies, and government organizations who are all investing heavily in quantum computing in pursuit of a competitive advantage by harnessing the potential of this transformative computing paradigm. While it’s impossible to quantify quantum’s true impact, it would be conservative to say that quantum computing will create trillions of dollars in economic value. Countless markets will be accelerated because of quantum innovation, including drug discovery, material innovation, financial services, and supply chains and logistics. No industry will be left untouched. Quantum computing also has the potential to push forward advancements in adjacent technologies, such as AI and machine learning. These applications are only the tip of the iceberg of the field’s possibilities. This is what drives my team forward every day—and the introduction of our new 32 qubit system signals a big cornerstone in the journey of quantum computing.
To appreciate the magnitude of this new quantum computer’s debut, it’s important to reflect on how we got here. Our new system is the culmination of two decades of academic research. While IonQ was founded in 2015, its development started at Duke and the University of Maryland over 15 years ago. The leadership behind it includes a quantum computing pioneer: Chris Monroe, who in 1995 led a team that demonstrated the first successful quantum logic gate. As quantum computing starts to move out of the lab, we’re now entering a second distinct phase of the market. The goal in this second phase will be to create a quantum computer that outperforms a supercomputer, and provides meaningful quantum advantage to our customers. We’re not there yet, but our 32 qubit system is a vital stepping stone in the process. Once quantum computers outpace supercomputers, the industry will head into a third and final phase, set on creating quantum systems that will truly change the world—think one million qubits at a start, and eventually many millions, quantum desktop computers, and more.
In order for any of this to be realized, we need developers to innovate on our systems. Our new 32 qubit system will be first available to our direct partners across energy, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing via private beta, and then commercially available on AWS Braket and the Microsoft Azure Quantum in early 2021. This will dramatically accelerate adoption of quantum computing by making our newest hardware available to millions of organizations and software developers. We view this as the key to building applications that will solve problems previously unsolvable. We have a proven track record with organizations such as 1QBit, QC Ware, Cambridge Quantum Computing, and Zapata Computing—customers and partners who have worked with our 11 qubit system and been able to execute algorithms that cannot be run on other devices. Everyone is excited to experience the benefits of the new system, which will enable them to drive towards the first wave of quantum applications with real business impact.
With quantum computing poised to follow the microprocessor, the internet, mobile computing, and AI as the next great wave of innovation, we are immensely proud of the work we’re doing at IonQ to lead the industry into this exciting future.
1 We expect our 32 qubit system to provide 22 Algorithmic Qubits (AQ), a new quantum computing metric we introduced alongside our roadmap in December 2020. Algorithmic Qubits are the number of qubits effectively useful in an algorithm on a particular system, taking into account various performance characteristics. Learn more in our Algorithmic Qubit calculator.
Article updated 2021/02/18 to include reference to roadmap