IBM Quantum Computing

Winners of IBM Quantum Challenge announced

December 18, 2020

From November 9th to 30th, there were around 3,300 people from 85 countries that tried to answer a single question as they applied for one of 2,000 seats of the IBM Quantum Challenge.

What would near-future quantum computing look like?

As cloud-accessible quantum systems are becoming more and more advanced and loaded with large numbers of qubits, the need to understand how to implement complicated data structures becomes more pertinent. This will allow companies to use the full potential of their quantum systems.

The IBM Quantum Challenge lasted for three weeks, as the participants learnt how to use qRAM to implement said data structures and design Grover’s Algorithm a quantum game solver. This combination has been claimed to be able to solve practical problems in future quantum computers, especially in the fields of quantum machine learning and complex decision-making.

Every Monday, the participants had a new set of exercises, and as the days passed, the challenges only became more difficult. Out of 2,000, only 1,091 could solve at least one of the first week’s exercises. The next week saw only 576 succeedings. The third week cut that number in half, around 227 that could solve all the challenges, even the final one which was the hardest.

The winner of the challenge not only solve all of the challenges but even managed to achieve the lowest quantum cost. His name is Hironari Nagayoshi, a University of Tokyo undergraduate student. He managed to do this by using a strategy that exploited the problem’s unique traits within the constraints.

Congratulations to the winners of the IBM Quantum Challenge!
Congratulations to the winners of the IBM Quantum Challenge!

Many of the participants reported that what made them happy was to see how others approach these tough problems, which gave everyone an excellent experience learning from others.

The scores were determined through measuring circuit implementation costs to solve the final exercise, and is defined as ‘Cost = S + 10C, where S is the number of single-qubit gates and C is the number of CNOT (CX) gates’.

‘Any given quantum circuit can be decomposed into single-qubit gates and two-qubit gates. With the current Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) devices, CNOT error rates are generally ten times higher than a single qubit gate. Therefore, we weigh CNOT gates ten times more than a single-qubit gate for evaluating the circuit implementation cost.’

IBM quantum Challenge

The most fruitful experience was how the IBM Quantum Challenged turned many participants into highly-trained experts, receiving a lot of experience in the three weeks of hard work. A great many of them entered as beginners, rating themselves from 1 to 3. But the experience changed their ratings to 5 or 6 points, on a scale of 1 to 10.

IBM is overjoyed that many of the participants enjoyed participating in the challenge and learning more about quantum computing.

You can find the submitted solutions to the challenge here.

About IBM Quantum

One of the world’s leading quantum computing companies, IBM is committed to developing technology, and is involved in many fields from quantum computing to cybersecurity. Over four years ago the company delivered the first cloud based Quantum system that enabled communities around the globe to access their Quantum systems.