IBM announced the unveiling of its 1,121-qubit “Condor” quantum computing processor on Dec. 4. This is the company’s largest by qubit count and, arguably, the world’s most advanced gate-based, superconducting quantum system.

Alongside the new chip, IBM delivered an updated roadmap and a trove of information on the company’s planned endeavors in the quantum computing space.

## The Condor quantum processor

The 1,121-qubit processor represents the apex of IBM’s previous roadmap. It’s preceded by 2022’s 433-qubit “Osprey” processor and by 2021’s 127-qubit “Eagle” processor.

In quantum computing terms, qubit count isn’t necessarily a measure of power or capability so much as it is potential. While more qubits should theoretically lead to more capable systems eventually, the industry’s current focus is on error correction and fault tolerance.

Currently, IBM considers its experiments with 100-qubit systems to be the status quo, with much of the current work focused on increasing the number of quantum gates processors can function with.

“For the first time,” writes IBM fellow and vice president of quantum computing Jay Gambetta in a recent blog post, “we have hardware and software capable of executing quantum circuits with no known a priori answer at a scale of 100 qubits and 3,000 gates.”

## 2029: A quantum inflection point

Gates, like qubits, are a potential measure of the usefulness of a quantum system. The more gates a processor can implement, the more complex functions can be performed by the system. According to IBM, at the 3,000 gates scale, its 100-qubit quantum systems are now computational tools.

The next major “inflection point,” per the blog post, will occur in 2029 when IBM will execute “100 million gates over 200 qubits” with a processor it’s calling “Starling.”

“This is followed,” writes Gambetta, “by Blue Jay, a system capable of executing 1 billion gates across 2,000 qubits by 2033.”

*Related: **IBM brings ‘utility-scale’ quantum computing to Japan as China and Europe struggle to compete*