Q-CTRL digest

Q-CTRL’s performance-management software natively integrated into IBM Quantum services

November 28, 2023
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Q-CTRL is the world’s leading expert on getting the best achievable performance from quantum computers. Part of this focus is also making our technology easily accessible for all.

One of our goals is to meet users where they are, making it simple and convenient to get the most value from the quantum hardware they use. That’s why we’re excited to announce that Q-CTRL’s infrastructure software, Q-CTRL Embedded, is now a natively integrated performance-management option on IBM Quantum!

As an inaugural member of the IBM Quantum Network startup program since 2018, we’ve partnered closely with their team to build new high-performance solutions on top of their platform. Q-CTRL has been one of the earliest and most prolific users of the exceptional capability unlocked by IBM’s development of pulse-level control. And through our products we've helped unlock additional performance on IBM Quantum systems with access to new error suppression options.

Any user can take advantage of this world-class performance-management technology directly through Qiskit Runtime on the IBM Cloud Pay-As-You-Go plan at no additional cost. The first device with this performance management option is 27-qubit IBM Algiers—and it’s coming soon to 127-qubit devices as well!

Our quantum infrastructure software works behind the scenes to enable you to achieve everything that the hardware can deliver without any overhead or disruption to your existing workflows. This integration makes it even easier to build on top of the familiar Qiskit Runtime interface by simply turning on Q-CTRL as a performance-management strategy.

With a single setting, you can maximize the value of your quantum-compute investments by obtaining the highest-quality results out-of-the-box, with no fuss and in less time.

Try it out now by creating a Qiskit Runtime instance with Q-CTRL Embedded performance management.

Get useful performance from your quantum algorithms

IBM and other vendors have continuously delivered major improvements in the scale and performance of their quantum hardware, bringing us to the era of quantum utility. The pace of hardware development has been breathtaking. But even with these advances, noise and error remain the typical hurdles over which a user must jump in order to gain useful results from quantum computers. Trying to understand hardware error sources and actively mitigate them detracts from the algorithm development process and typically poses a barrier to entry too high for typical end-users to overcome.

With our native performance management, it’s now easy to achieve maximum performance from IBM’s quantum hardware.  You can rest assured that every execution is optimized to unleash the device’s full potential, in a way that’s completely automated behind the scenes. There’s no magic—Q-CTRL just unlocks additional performance on top of what is already available with IBM Quantum services.

Q-CTRL employs AI-powered quantum control techniques to prevent and reduce errors before and during algorithmic execution. Even when executing algorithms with more qubits, where the likelihood of achieving correct results starts to decline, our fully autonomous error suppression software maintains device quality so that performance more closely matches expectations.

In direct benchmarking, Q-CTRL’s performance-management technology delivers results from real algorithms close to the intrinsic limits set by hardware, closing the gap between expected and achieved user experience by up to over 1000X (depending on the algorithm under test).

Figure 1. Benchmarking results from running the Bernstein–Vazirani algorithm using a range of qubits from 18 to 26. Ideal represents the inherent device coherence limit. Q-CTRL optimized shows results using performance management, and Default plots results using the standard Qiskit Runtime settings (Optimization level 3 and Resilience level 1). While device performance typically varies and starts to drop at higher qubit counts, Q-CTRL technology provides corrections to keep devices performing closer to ideal behavior.

See value immediately with zero configuration

Our managed performance solution combines cutting-edge tools and techniques to make fine tuning system performance easy and approachable.

Now you can focus on use cases and algorithm development without having to learn the details of hardware operation. And that’s how it should be. Programmers don’t typically think about transistors and gate voltages, so why should you be forced to think about crosstalk suppression and microwave pulses?

Our performance management is zero-config in line with our goal to build deterministic, circuit-agnostic techniques that consistently achieve the best results.

With this native integration, the benefits of Q-CTRL Embedded can be applied with a single setting. Simply create an instance of Qiskit Runtime on IBM Cloud and choose Q-CTRL performance management. Then, set your channel strategy to “q-ctrl”. It’s that simple! Everything else about your existing workflow remains unchanged.

Get the right answer faster

Quantum computing is a transformational technology, so it’s not surprising it comes with a premium cost that can quickly add up. It’s imperative that every dollar spent delivers maximum value and insight. Q-CTRL Embedded delivers more value from each computation by suppressing errors during hardware execution, which reduces the overall amount of runtime required to get good results.

By improving the accuracy of execution, Q-CTRL Embedded reduces the number of iterations required to achieve the correct answer with a high level of confidence. Each answer returned is of higher quality, meaning simple averaging allows you to improve the confidence-level of your result. And because the error is reduced directly in execution, there’s less need to add extra overhead in the form of special postprocessing techniques like error mitigation.

Best of all, this performance-management capability is available to you at no additional cost!

The following graph shows the results of executing a 10-qubit Quantum Fourier Transform circuit with Q-CTRL’s Embedded performance management compared to the default Qiskit Runtime settings. Here we show the achieved confidence level—how sure you will be that the answer returned is correct—as a function of how many shots—or circuit executions—are required.

The default performance can achieve 99% confidence, but arriving at this takes nearly 170,000 shots, as heavy averaging is required to determine the signal from the noise. When using Q-CTRL’s performance management, you can quickly surpass that confidence threshold in just 30 shots. Lower error means fewer shots and less runtime!

The capability is always right there within this powerful quantum computing platform. Q-CTRL simply helps you unlock it faster and easier.

Figure 2. Results of running a 10-qubit Quantum Fourier Transform algorithm on ibm_algiers with Q-CTRL Embedded performance management compared to IBM’s “Default” runtime settings (Qiskit Runtime Sampler, Optimization level 3 and Resilience level 1). Q-CTRL achieves 99% confidence within 30 shots, whereas the Default reaches that level after 170,000 shots. A shot is a single execution of a quantum algorithm on a QPU.

Discover new opportunities at utility-scale

The rollout of Q-CTRL embedded will soon be available on all 127-qubit devices on the Pay-As-You-Go plan. In combination with IBM Quantum services, Q-CTRL Embedded can help you achieve quantum computing milestones ahead of the curve.

In the last few weeks of testing we’ve set a range of records that will be available to all IBM Quantum Pay-As-You-Go users:

  • The world’s largest full hybrid QAOA execution: Over 40 qubits on a MaxCut problem
  • The world’s largest fully entangled state: Over 50 qubits showing verified entanglement in a so-called GHZ state (with clear signal up to 100 qubits!)
  • The world’s most complex quantum simulation without any form of error mitigation required.

All of this becomes possible with the combination of the utility-scale quantum computing services offered by IBM and Q-CTRL’s easy-to-use performance management.  

We’re excited to see how you use Q-CTRL Embedded on IBM to power your quantum development! Discover how you can get started today.