New product releases: Pasqal’s Pulser Studio, IBM’s Sherbrooke Processor, and Google Cirq v1.1.0

Several interesting new product releases have been released over the past few weeks including Pasqal’s Pulser Studio no-code development platform, IBM’s 127 qubit Sherbrooke processor, and a new Cirq version 1.1.0.

Pasqal’s Pulser is a platform that allows users to create pulse registers and sequences for quantum computing of a neutral atom using a graphical interface and requires no coding knowledge. The platform allows the user to assemble a quantum program based on five elements: atoms, registers, pulses, channels, and measurements. It’s open and free to corporate and academic users who can sign up for a beta release and includes a built-in emulator for simulating small systems. The goal of this platform is to make it easier and faster for end users to program their processors while helping them develop insights into how the software works. Later this year, Pasqal will consolidate this program into Cloud computing platform So it can be used with real quantum processors as well as make updates to add additional features. More information about Pulser Studio is available in the new release hereWeb page available here and a beta user registration page here.

Pulsar Studio screenshot. Click on the image to view the video. Credit: Pascal

Just before the holidays, IBM put a 127-qubit IBM_Sherbrooke processor online which they say is their highest performing system yet. Sherbrooke is part of the Eagle family of processors that was introduced last year and is the third iteration known as the Eagle r3. The first 127 KB processor is known as IBM_Washington and is referred to as Eagle r1. Although it contains the same number of qubits, Sherbrooke has been optimized for error mitigation with techniques such as probabilistic error cancellation (PEC) and zero-noise extrapolation (ZNE) to help provide better quality programming results. The first noticeable difference we see, as shown in Qubit quality Page, T1 coherence times are improved from about 95 microseconds with Washington to 312 microseconds with Sherbrooke. T2 times also improved from 97 microseconds to 177 microseconds. Additional improvements can also be seen in single gate resolution, 2-qubit gate resolution, readout, and CLOPS metrics.

IBM also changed its calibration strategy with this device. Previously, they designed calibration procedures to reduce error rates, but at the cost of stability. With this device they change that to emphasize reduced metering leakage, gate stability, and increased uniform gate speed. This will help eliminate drift and extend the time before another recalibration is needed. Interestingly, this new titration strategy may not necessarily provide the best possible quantification but may still be preferred due to the increased stability. Along with this change, IBM implemented a different native 2-qubit gateway called echo through gate resonance (ECR) To replace the previously used 2-qubit CNOT gate. The Qiskit bus has been updated to compile any existing Qiskit software to use this portal, but also makes this portal available directly in Qiskit for programmers who wish to use it. The Sherbrooke topology is shown below. Note that only the 2-qubit ECR gates are unidirectional (as indicated below by conduction arrows) rather than bidirectional. The compiler knows this and will adjust this when it allocates physical qubits during program compilation. IBM has published a new blog about this processor that you can find here here and an updated comparison list on our Qubit quality page here.

IBM_Sherbrooke (Eagle r3) processor topology. Credit: IBM

Finally, Google released Cirq v1.1.0 of its open source quantum programming framework. This Cirq release is focused on tracking and improving performance of key workflows such as circuit generation, parameter precision, etc. The release also adds a new Transformers framework for qubit routing and provides an efficient implementation of the qubit routing algorithm originally developed by researchers at Cambridge Quantum Computing (now Quantinuum) and others described in arXiv: 1902.08091. Additional information about changes in this release is available on the Cirq v1.1.0 GitHub page here.

January 7, 2023

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