Measure Quantum Computer Performance with ‘CLOPS’ IBM’s New Metric

  • CLOPS is the new quantum metric used by IBM scientists to measure Quantum Computer Performance, as reported in a blog post.
  • CLOPS is a metric that measures how fast a quantum computer can execute circuits.
  • CLOPS (Circuit Layer Operations Per Second)

It appears that the quantum computing sector is evolving at a blindingly fast pace, which could become a big problem as industries and potential customers try to comprehend the processing speeds quantum computers will really be able to deliver in the real world.
There are already tools to measure quantum computing in its scale–in qubits–and in its quality–in quantum volume. The quantum computing pioneer IBM recently released the Circuit Layer Operations per Second (CLOPS) rate, a measure of how many circuits can run on hardware over a given period of time.

In a blog post, CLOPS, or Circuit Layer Operations Per Second, is a new quantum metric developed by IBM scientists to measure speed.

According to the researchers: “To run the benchmark, this model circuit must be executed multiple times with various parameters generated at runtime. These various parts of the hardware-software stack contribute to CLOPS, such as the repetition rate of the quantum processor, the speed at which gates run, the speed at which runtime compilations occur, the time to generate traditional control instructions, and then the overall data transfer rate.”
Among the leading companies in quantum computing, IBM is at the forefront of the technological world’s “next frontier.” Although it will take decades for this technology to be applied at the customer level, all the large companies (Amazon, Microsoft, Google…) are working on advancing this technology. In addition to technological advancements, race affects marketing, obtaining patents, and gaining influence as well.

According to IBM, speed is only one of three critical attributes that describe the performance of a quantum computer. The other two are quality and scale. The quantum processor’s scale is determined by its number of qubits, while its quality can be determined by its quantum volume, which IBM developed in 2017 to determine how closely a circuit can be implemented in a quantum computer.


CLOPS (Circuit Layer Operations Per Second) is a method for measuring the number of quantum circuits that a quantum processing unit (QPU) can execute in a given unit of time. These are the basic units of calculation for quantum computers since they include both the quantum operations and the interactions of the quantum system with a classical computer. This is something that must be taken into account for the transition, which will not be a smooth one.

CLOPS: The researchers have defined CLOPS as the number of QV layers executed per second using a set of parameterized QV circuits. Each QV circuit has D = log2 QV layers. It obtains time to update parameters in a circuit, submit the job to the QPU, carry out on the QPU, and send back the results.

Recent advances from IBM

The IBM team showed 120 times more speed in simulating molecules in the first half of 2021 after improvements and the ability to run quantum programs entirely in the cloud with Qiskit Runtime, which is a cloud-based quantum computing platform. Qiskit Runtime is a containerized, portable architecture that runs quantum programs on a classical processor by integrating it tightly with the quantum processor.

Many enhancements enabled this to happen. Thanks to algorithmic advances, obtaining a final result requires fewer iterations by up to ten times. Improvements to system software resulted in a 17-second reduction in iteration time. By improving the processing speed, the algorithm was able to reduce by a factor of ten the number of iterations or shots required for each circuit run.

The increase in the computing speed of quantum processors is essential for implementing near-term algorithms based on the variational method, which requires thousands of iterations. Thanks to the improved gate times for qubits, we have been able to extend the reach of quantum systems and bring ourselves closer to overtaking classical computing hardware. —Pranav Gokhale, Founder, and CEO,


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