Melbourne: Australian scientists along with another
international team claim to have designed a tiny crystal, made
of just 300 atoms, capable of running a quantum computer so
powerful that it would take a computer of the size of the known
universe to match it.
According to ABC report, the details of the ion crystal
which has been designed by Australia, South Africa and US, have
been published in the journal Nature on Thursday.
The device, known as a quantum simulator, is just one-atom
“We’ve surpassed the computational potential of this system
relative to classical computers by 10 to the [power of] 80,
which is 80 orders of magnitude, a really enormous number,”
University of Sydney’s Michael Biercuk said.
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 said.
Biercuk added, “If you wanted to think how big a classical
computer would need to be in order to solve this problem of
roughly 300 interacting quantum particles, it turns out that
that computer would need to be the size of the known universe —
which is clearly something that’s not possible to achieve.”
He said the central element is something like a millimetre
in diameter, 300 atoms that are suspended in space.
“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
“The quantum computer will move to a stage where it is so
far out in front and 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,” Biercuk said.
Biercuk said the tiny device’s role was like that of a scale
model of an aircraft wing, which engineers might test in a wind
tunnel to try to design a better plane.