Los Alamos National Laboratory is joining the IBM Q Network.

Researchers will have access to 15 universal quantum computing systems, including a 53 quantum bits (qubit) system. The lab says, by joining IBM, wait times to research quantum algorithms and simulations will be dramatically cut down.

Researchers at Los Alamos have been working with quantum devices for many years, including accessing small-scale gate-based devices on the order of 16 qubits or less over the cloud. Since 2015, the lab has also operated a D-Wave quantum computer (upgraded in 2019), which provides far more qubits - but is not seen as a comparable system due to the qubits remaining in a quantum state for a brief time.

IBM Quantum Computer
– Sebastian Moss

Big Blue’s 53 qubit chip is the largest quantum computer of its kind commercially available on the Q System One platform.

Rare opportunity

Irene Qualters, associate laboratory director for Simulation and Computation at Los Alamos, said: “The 53-qubit chip will also allow us to benchmark our abilities to perform quantum simulations on quantum computers and perhaps to push beyond the limits of classical computing.

“Finally, the IBM Q Network will be a tremendous educational tool, giving students a rare opportunity to develop innovative research projects in the Los Alamos Quantum Computing Summer School.

“The 53-qubit chip is approaching the quantum-advantage region, where it becomes very difficult for a normal, classical computer to perform a comparable quantum simulation, so we’re hoping we will be able to use the IBM quantum computer to study things that push the limits of classical computing.”