Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Quantum startup Atom Computing first to cross 1,000-qubit threshold

Unlike conventional computers that store and process information in binary digits – either one or zero – quantum computers enable data to exist in a superposition of both states simultaneously. These quantum bits (qubits) give them a huge advantage in computing power, allowing them to solve traditional problems much faster and even handle tasks that would otherwise be infeasible.

Now, a quantum startup, Atom Computing, has created an atomic array consisting of 1,225 sites and populated with 1,180 qubits, claiming the first quantum computer to exceed 1,000 qubits. The prototype is planned for release next year.

CEO Rob Hays said rapid scaling is a key benefit of Atom Computing’s unique atomic array technology. “This order-of-magnitude leap – from 100 to 1,000-plus qubits within a generation – shows our atomic array systems are quickly gaining ground on more mature qubit modalities,” Hays said. “Scaling to large numbers of qubits is critical for fault-tolerant quantum computing, which is why it has been our focus from the beginning. We are working closely with partners to explore near-term applications that can take advantage of these larger-scale systems.”

One of the major advantages of having 1,000-plus qubit is it makes Atom Computing a serious contender in the race to build a fault-tolerant system.

“It is highly impressive that Atom Computing, which was founded just five years ago, is going up against larger companies with more resources and holding its own,” Paul Smith-Goodson, vice president and a principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said. “The company has been laser-focused on scaling its atomic array technology and is making rapid progress.”

Atom says its quantum computer has other advantages as well. Earlier this year, the company demonstrated the ability to measure the quantum state of specific qubits during computation and detect certain types of errors without disturbing other qubits. The computer also claims to have achieved record coherence times by demonstrating its qubits can store quantum information for 40 seconds.

“Developing a 1,000-plus qubit quantum technology marks an exceptional achievement for the Atom Computing team and the entire industry,” Tommaso Demarie, CEO of Entropica Labs, a strategic partner of Atom Computing, said in the press release. “With expanded computational capabilities, we can now delve deeper into the intricate realm of error correction schemes, designing and implementing strategies that pave the way for more reliable and scalable quantum computing systems. Entropica is enthusiastic about collaborating with Atom Computing as we create software that takes full advantage of their large-scale quantum computers.”

Atom Computing continues to work toward these capabilities with its next-generation system, which provides new opportunities for its partners. The company is working with enterprise, academic, and government users today to develop applications and reserve time on the systems, which will be available in 2024.