“We’ve surpassed the computational potential of this system relative to classical computers by something like 10 to the power of 80, which is 80 orders of magnitude, a really enormous number,” the University of Sydney’s Dr Michael Biercuk says.
“Quantum computing is a kind of information science that is based on the notion that if one performs computations in a fundamentally different way than the way your classical desktop computer works, there’s a huge potential to solve a variety of problems that are very, very hard or near impossible for standard computers,” he explained.
However, Biercuk said there is still plenty of work to do.
“The central element is something like a millimetre in diameter, 300 atoms that are suspended in space,” he said. “But of course everything depends on a huge amount of technical infrastructure around it. So there are vacuum chambers and pumps and lasers, and all of that takes up something like a room.”
The quantum computer will soon move to a stage where it is performing such complex tasks it will be difficult to check if it is working accurately.
“They’re not easily checked by a classical computer which opens a whole variety of problems,” Dr Biercuk said.