It’s just a five-qubit quantum computer, and anything it does is easily simulated on a laptop. However, these trapped ion qubits are fully connected, with entangling gates between all possible pairs. The qubits are dynamically “wired” from the outside with patterns of laser beams, so we can run any algorithm through software without modifying the base hardware. While the individual gate operations are only about 98% pure, it should be possible to exceed the >99.9% purity others have demonstrated with two isolated ions. Most importantly, we have blueprints for scaling this system up to useful dimensions.
- “Demonstration of a small programmable quantum computer with atomic qubits,” S. Debnath, N. M. Linke, C. Figgatt, K. A. Landsman, K. Wright, and C. Monroe, Nature 536, 63 (2016).
- News Release
- YouTube video animation of how it works
- Wall Street Journal Business/Technology section coverage (4 August, 2016)