Osprey 433 was the least significant announcement!
I just returned from the IBM Quantum Summit 2022, and I’m still digesting all the announcements as I type. But, what was clear to me almost immediately is that IBMers are stressing on social media the unveiling of Osprey and its 433 qubits. In reality, that was probably the least significant announcement they made!
Osprey’s 433 Qubits
I was speaking with someone shortly before the event started, and he mentioned that a big announcement would be made. I immediately guessed Osprey, after which he stressed that I didn’t hear that from him and that I should please act surprised when the announcement is made.
But, that wasn’t a surprise. Osprey has been on the roadmap for this year, and it’s already November. It would be more surprising, quite frankly, if Osprey hadn’t been announced. Nor was its qubit count a surprise. Again, 433 has been on the roadmap. So, the anticlimactic announcement is that IBM has met its goal, however with the caveat that Osprey is still being tested; at the time I am writing this, it does not seem to have been made publicly available yet. Interestingly, the chip has already been upgraded once, already improving coherence times prior to its official announcement.
The REAL Announcements
The ribbon cable above represents my summary of the REAL announcements from the conference. Individually wiring qubits is thoroughly impractical as we scale to hundreds and even thousands of qubits. So, these “flexi cables” represent the future of quantum wiring. However, ribbon cables are the past and present of classical computing. Therefore, there’s nothing revolutionary here; it is merely the adaptation of legacy technology to quantum computing. These cables are obviously adapted to ultracold temperatures, but there is no fundamental difference conceptually. This relative lack of ingenuity might be one of…