Every now and then we hear something about quantum computing and how it has the potential to revolutionize computer technology. The applications for scientific research with such devices are practically unlimited and could help us make discoveries that may otherwise be out if our grasp. They’re far more powerful than classical computer architecture, but a recent breakthrough dwarfs anything imagined before it.
Dr. Michael Biercuk, from the University of Sydney’s School of Physics and ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (say that quickly three times!) in a cooperative international effort has taken the concept to new levels. Working together with scientists from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, North Carolina State University and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa has produced a very special kind of quantum computer known as a “quantum simulator.” I won’t pretend to understand how it works, but lets just say it’s so fast you won’t believe the comparison Dr. Biercuk has given in the quote below.
“The system we have developed has the potential to perform calculations that would require a classical machine larger than the size of the known universe – and it does it all in a diameter of less than a millimetre.”
Just imagine the immense power of this tiny computer. It can outdo a common computer the size of the known universe in a disk with a diameter is no bigger than the thickness of a dime. That is a truly mind-boggling comparison.
The picture above is an illustration representing the 2-dimensional disk of beryllium ions that would be more powerful than the world’s fastest supercomputer by “many orders of magnitude,” according to Dr. Biercuk. Watch below as he gives a basic explanation of the structure of this computer and just how fast it really is.
You can read a release about this breakthrough on the University of Sydney’s website here.