Harvard Led Project Creates Quantum Computer with 256 Qubits – Largest Ever
Good news! In what is being hailed as a "big step" in our journey to build bigger and more practical quantum computers, physicists at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms have created a quantum simulator capable of operating with 256 qubits. This represents a fairly large increase in capability from the groups previous project from 2017 which was capable of 51 qubits.
The word "quantum" has become a bit of a buzzword and a device used by many sci-fi movies to gloss over plot holes, but the truth is we do not understand the quantum world very well. We do understand, however, some of the processes of quantum mechanics and that allows us to exploit these properties to advance our technology and create new machines like this one.
So what are quantum computers and why are they better? In short quantum computers allow for an exponentially larger amount of calculations than a traditional computer is capable of. Traditional computers use bits of either 1 or 0 to perform calculations, while quantum computers use bits that can be 1, 0, or both. According to the study's lead author Sepehr Ebadi, "The number of quantum states that are possible with only 256 qubits exceeds the number of atoms in the solar system." That's a lot.
Google also has a robust quantum computing team at their helm. Earlier this month their team announced that they had created a "time crystal" inside their quantum computer. There is certainly a new era upon us, one that will be ushered in by the advancement of the quantum machines.
Source: The Harvard Gazette