My wish list for Christmas 2023 and New Year 2024 really hasn’t changed much — at all — since my wish list of a year ago. Yes, there has been at least some progress in quantum computing, but not enough to move the needle for my core wish which is still:
- All I want for Christmas and the New Year is a small quantum computer with 48 fully-connected near-perfect qubits capable of fully and accurately supporting a 20-bit quantum Fourier transform (QFT) — and enabling quantum phase estimation (QPE), so that a quantum advantage of one million to one can be demonstrated over a comparable classical solution.
I’ll assert that such a configuration should in fact be sufficient for a low-end practical quantum computer. Some applications will indeed require more substantial hardware, but this should be enough for at least some applications to finally demonstrate some significant level of quantum advantage.
To be clear, this is not a wish for my personal benefit, but my own assessment of what would give the overall quantum computing sector the biggest bang for the buck at this stage, the most sensible practical configuration which would deliver the greatest value for the most people.
I wrote this request as a proposal back in June 2022:
- 48 Fully-connected Near-perfect Qubits As the Sweet Spot Goal for Near-term Quantum Computing
Just to summarize the technical specification:
- 48 qubits. But I don’t care if they are superconducting transmon qubits, trapped-ion qubits, or some other qubit technology.
- Full any-to-any qubit connectivity.
- Near-perfect qubit fidelity — minimum of 3.5 nines. Preferably 3.75 nines or even a full four nines. 3.25 nines may be good enough, at least to show progress.
- 20 bits of granularity for phase and probability amplitude. A full million gradations. To support 20-bit quantum Fourier transform. And to enable quantum phase estimation.
- Support 2,500-gate circuits. Implies a combination of increased coherence time and reduced gate execution time. Enough for a 20-bit quantum Fourier transform plus the rest of some relatively simple quantum algorithm. Enough to enable quantum phase estimation for quantum computational chemistry.
- If any of these specs are too tough to meet for 48 qubits, I’d settle for 36 qubits. And if even 36 qubits is too tough, I’d settle for 27 qubits. A 10 or 12-bit quantum Fourier transform would support a quantum advantage of 1,000 to 4,000, at least good enough to show progress.
I won’t complain if the quantum computer actually has a little more than 48 qubits, like 50, 56, 64, 72, or 80, but all of the other technical specifications must be met. And there would be no point in increasing the qubit count if the phase granularity and maximum circuit size were not increased commensurately to support larger quantum Fourier transforms using the majority of the additional qubits.
That’s it! That’s all I want for Christmas and the coming new year from quantum computing.
FWIW, I don’t expect such a quantum computer to be introduced in 2024. Late in 2025 is a better possibility. But… if it still isn’t feasible by the end of 2025, that would be a fairly sure sign that a Quantum Winter is quite likely to be brewing.
For more detail, see my Christmas wish list from last year as well as the previous three years:
- My Quantum Computing Wish List for Christmas 2022 and New Year 2023
- My Quantum Computing Wish List for Christmas 2021 and New Year 2022
- My Quantum Computing Wish List for Christmas 2020 and New Year 2021
- My Quantum Computing Wish List for Christmas 2019 and New Year 2020
Wow, this is actually my fifth year of doing this!
Oh, there are a few other items on my Christmas wish list…
Well, okay… I’d like a couple more things that are subsidiary to my proposal — unchanged from last year:
- Quantum algorithms that can fully exploit this hardware. 24 to 28-qubit, 32 to 36-qubit, and even 40 to 44-qubit algorithms.
- Full classical quantum simulation for this hardware. With configuration and noise models to accurately simulate the actual hardware.
And while I’m at it, there are a few other ancillary wishes that I have — unchanged from last year:
- Less hype. I neglected to include this a year ago, but it was on my mind and is still quite urgent. See my Cheat Sheet for Quantum Computing Hype.
- Greater transparency. From all vendors. Especially longer-term product roadmaps.
- Greater technical disclosure. From all vendors. Especially technical details of hardware and technical requirements and quantum advantage for algorithms and applications.
- Deeper and more passionate commitment to open source. Not just superficial lip service — everything needs to be open source, from hardware to software to algorithms to applications to infrastructure software to support software to software development tools to analysis software to benchmarking tools, and… everything else that could have been made proprietary.
- Move beyond variational methods to full-blown quantum phase estimation (QPE). Particularly for quantum computational chemistry. It may be another year or two before this happens.
I have no expectation that any of these wishes beyond my single main wish will be granted, but I just couldn’t resist putting them out there.
Changes to my wishes?
I reserve the right to make changes to my wishes right up until 11:59 PM on December 24, 2023 — Christmas Eve. And I expect Santa’s elves to be responsive to such late-breaking requests!