On Monday (3/5/2018), Google researcher Julian Kelly unveiled Bristlecone, the company’s new record-breaking 72-qubit quantum processor, at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in Los Angeles. Kelly and his colleagues at Google’s Quantum AI lab hope this processor will be the first chip to achieve quantum supremacy, the point at which quantum computers can perform calculations that are beyond the capabilities of even the most advanced supercomputers.
“It’s a huge jump in the number of qubits on a chip, and they are arranged in a 2 dimensional layout, which complicates controlling the system,” Michele Mosca, a physicist at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, told me in an email. (He wasn’t involved with the Google processor.)
“It’s much closer to what is needed to implement the surface code,” Mosca added, referring to the ability to manipulate qubits in a quantum system to perform useful calculations.