Atos’ latest “Q-score”, a universal quantum metrics reference, applicable to all programmable quantum processors, measures a quantum system’s effectiveness at handling real-life problems, those which cannot be solved by traditional computers, rather than simply measuring its theoretical or physical performance.
What does Q-score measure?
Today the number of qubits is the most common figure of merit for assessing the performance of a quantum system. However, qubits are volatile and vastly vary in quality (speed, stability, connectivity…) from one quantum technology to another (supraconducting, trapped ions, silicon, photonics…), making it an imperfect benchmark tool.
Q-score measures the actual performances of quantum processors when solving an optimisation problem, representative of the near-term quantum computing era (NISQ – Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum). To provide a frame of reference for comparing performance scores and maintain uniformity, Q-score relies on a standard combinatorial optimisation problem, the same for all assessments (the Max-Cut Problem, see below for comparison with the well-known TSP – Travelling Salesman Problem). The score is calculated based on the maximum number of variables within such a problem that a quantum technology can optimize (ex: 23 variables = 23 Qs).
Atos will organise the publication of a yearly list of the most powerful quantum processors in the world. Due in 2021, the first report will include actual self-assessments provided by manufacturers.
A free software kit, enabling to run Q-score on any processor will be available in Q1 2021. Atos invites all manufacturers to run Q-score on their technology and publish their results.
Thanks to the advanced qubit simulation capabilities of the Atos Quantum Learning Machine (Atos QLM), its powerful quantum simulator, Atos is able to provide Q-score estimates for various platforms. These estimates take into account the characteristics publicly provided by the manufacturers. Results range around a Q-score of 15 Qs, but progress is rapid, with an estimated average Q-score a year ago in the area of 10 Qs, and an estimated projected average Q-score in one year from now above 20 Qs.
Bob Sorensen, Senior Vice President of Research, Chief Analyst for Quantum Computing at Hyperion Research, LLC, comments: “Many national-level governments as well as numerous industrial concerns are investing in quantum computing to help accelerate its near-term capabilities and realize the more ambitious and longer-term goal of quantum supremacy: the demonstration of real-world use cases that are otherwise intractable on a classical counterpart. Leveraging its widely acknowledged expertise in supercomputing, Atos is working to provide quantum computing users with early and tangible computational advantage on various applications by building on its ‘Atos Quantum’ R&D program, with the aim of delivering near-term results through a hybrid quantum supercomputing approach. Likewise, the launch of Q-score is a key innovative step for Atos that offers a way for the quantum computing community to better characterize gains by focusing on real-life use-cases. Although various benchmarks exist to compare quantum processors, Atos’ Q-score, being technology-agnostic and application-centric, brings a potentially new and important measurement tool to the sector.”
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