Quantum computing is very important for the science because it is the way to support the progress. A team of physicists from the Harvard-MIT Center and other universities has developed a special type of quantum computer known as a programmable quantum simulator capable of operating with 256 quantum bits (qubits). “This moves the field into a new domain where no one has ever been to thus far,” said Mikhail Lukin, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics, co-director of the Harvard Quantum Initiative. The increase in qubits means the system can store and process exponentially more information than the classical bits on which standard computers run. “The number of quantum states that are possible with only 256 qubits exceeds the number of atoms in the solar system,” Sepehr Ebadi, a physics student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the study’s lead author explained. The project uses a significantly upgraded version of a platform the researchers developed in 2017, which was capable of reaching a size of 51 qubits.
This new system allows the atoms to be assembled in two-dimensional arrays of optical tweezers. “Our work is part of a really intense, high-visibility global race to build bigger and better quantum computers,” said Tout Wang, a research associate in physics at Harvard and one of the paper’s authors. The work enables a vast number of new scientific directions.