Atom Computing Announces 1,000+ Qubit Quantum Computer
The race for quantum computing development is in full swing, and Atom Computing has taken a significant step by announcing the creation of a quantum computer with over 1,000 qubits. This achievement marks a milestone in the industry and underscores the potential of neutral atom technology as a promising path towards building more powerful quantum machines.
The system, which has undergone internal testing by Atom Computing, has expanded from its 100-qubit predecessor to an impressive 1,180 qubits. While this increase in quantum capacity is noteworthy, it's essential to highlight that the error rate for individual qubit operations remains high enough to make it impossible to execute algorithms that rely on the full set of qubits without errors. Nevertheless, this advancement supports the company's claim that its technology can scale rapidly and provides a testbed for quantum error correction research.
Atom Computing's choice to use neutral atoms as qubits is one of the distinctive features of its approach. While other quantum computing companies work with ions, Atom Computing relies on a set of lasers that create energetically favorable locations for atoms. These atoms, by themselves, tend to occupy these locations and remain there until displaced by a wandering gas atom.
What makes this approach especially promising is the stability of neutral atoms. Quantum information is stored in the nuclear spin of the atoms, which is relatively resistant to environmental influence. Unlike other types of qubits, whose coherence lasts only fractions of a second, neutral atoms can maintain their state for tens of seconds. This allows for denser packing of atoms, resulting in greater processing capacity.
The ability to manipulate atoms and make them interact and become entangled is achieved through a phenomenon called "Rydberg blockade," which prohibits interactions unless two atoms are at a specific distance and in the Rydberg state. The precise location of the atoms is controlled with lasers, enabling the entanglement of any pair of atoms.
Scalability is one of the strong points of Atom Computing's neutral atom technology. Unlike other systems where slight variations in device manufacturing lead to performance differences in qubits, with neutral atoms, every trapped atom guarantees consistent behavior. Furthermore, atoms don't interfere with each other unless manipulated, allowing for a large number of them to be packed into a relatively small space.
However, it's worth noting that due to the high error rate in individual qubit operations, users of this system won't be able to utilize all the qubits for a single calculation. Instead, the company will focus on running algorithms that require fewer qubits and operations, keeping the error margin below the threshold and allowing companies to develop algorithms that will be useful as quantum computers improve.
One of Atom Computing's key focuses is quantum error correction, a crucial challenge in building practical quantum machines. To achieve this, a further expansion in quantum capacity will be required, with systems having hundreds of thousands or even millions of qubits in a single unit.
Although the path to quantum error correction remains a challenge, Atom Computing has achieved significant breakthroughs. The ability to measure atoms while they are in the midst of a computation without interruptions is an essential step in this regard.
Atom Computing's announcement of a quantum computer with over 1,000 qubits represents a significant advancement in quantum computing. Their focus on neutral atoms and their efforts to address scalability and error correction are crucial steps toward making quantum computing more powerful and practical. While challenges remain, this achievement reflects an exciting future in the quest for quantum supremacy.
Written by Luis Eduardo Quezada