Researchers say they have designed a tiny crystal
that acts like a quantum computer so powerful it would take a computer the size of the known universe to match it. Details of the crystal, which is made up of just 300 atoms, are published today in the journal Nature. The crystal simulator uses a property of quantum mechanics called superposition, where a quantum particle appears to be in two distinct states at the same time. This means the particle, known as a qubit, can be used to solve two equations simultaneously. As the number of qubits increase, the number or states increases exponentially. For example, 2 qubits can simultaneously be in 4 states, 3 qubits in 8 states: 2 to the power of n states for n qubits.
According to Biercuk, the computing power of the 300-atom crystal simulator far outstrips the capacity of today's classical computer. Experts believe quantum computing is moving 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.