Quantum Computing with Atoms
Quantum computers exploit the bizarre features of quantum physics -- uncertainty, entanglement, and measurement -- to perform tasks that are impossible using conventional means, such as computing over huge amounts of data, and communicating via teleportation. I will describe the architecture of a quantum computer based on individual atoms, suspended and isolated with electric fields, individually addressed with laser beams, and scalable through modular photonic interconnections between clusters of atoms. This leading physical representation of a quantum computer has allowed unmatched demonstrations of small algorithms and emulations of hard quantum problems with more than 50 quantum bits. While this system can currently solve some esoteric tasks that cannot be accomplished in conventional devices, it remains a great engineering challenge to build a quantum computer big enough to be useful for scientific applications and society overall. The good news is that we don't see any fundamental limits ahead in reaching this goal.