Quantum computer startup first to break 1,000-qubit milestone
A startup called Atom Computing has announced the first quantum computer to pass the 1,000-qubit milestone. The prototype, due to become available for use in 2024, leapfrogs IBM’s announcement of its new quantum computer platform expected in the next few weeks.
Where traditional computers store and process information in binary states – either ones or zeroes – quantum computers allow data to exist in a superposition of both states at once. These quantum bits (qubits) give them a massive leg-up in computing power, allowing them to tackle traditional problems much faster and even take on tasks that would otherwise be impossible.
Now, Atom Computing has announced the most advanced quantum computing platform to date, boasting an impressive 1,180 qubits. That’s a huge leap over the previous most powerful quantum computer – IBM’s Osprey, with 433 qubits.
In Atom’s system, these qubits are ytterbium atoms, with lasers holding them in an array and manipulating their states to store and process data. The company says that ytterbium is the ideal candidate for the job, since it only has two quantum levels in its lowest energy state, meaning it’s easier to manipulate and measure than other atoms.
Atom claims that its quantum computer excels in other measures too. Earlier this year the company demonstrated mid-circuit measurement – where the quantum state of desired qubits can be probed without disturbing neighboring qubits. The computer also apparently boasts coherence times – a measure of how long qubits can store information – of 40 seconds. By comparison, the Osprey tops out at around 80 microseconds.
While it may sound like Atom has left other companies in the dust, the race is closer than you might think. IBM’s multi-year roadmap suggests the company will announce its own quantum computer surpassing the 1,000-qubit mark in the next few weeks with the Condor, running 1,121 qubits.
Atom Computing says that it will begin allowing enterprise, academic and government users access to its quantum computer systems in 2024.
Source: Atom Computing