Quantum computing company D-Wave Systems has unveiled the world's most powerful quantum computer processor, double the size of previous generations used in the ultra-powerful machines.
At 1,000 qubits, the new processor is capable of considering 2<sup>1000 possibilities simultaneously. To give an idea of the size of such processing capabilities, this new search space considers more possibilities simultaneously than there are particles in the observable universe.
What is quantum computing?
Quantum computers replace traditional bits that are used in digital communications with quantum bits, or qubits. Potential applications can be found in a variety of fields, from medicine to space travel.
Qubits exist in a state of superposition, meaning they can be in both states at once, rather than restricted to either binary state as traditional bits function.
"For the high-performance computing [HPC] industry, the promise of quantum computing is very exciting," said Earl Joseph, programme vice president for HPC at D-Wave.
"It offers the potential to solve important problems that either can't be solved today or would take an unreasonable amount of time to solve."
The development puts D-Wave at the forefront of the nascent quantum computing industry, which has been widely touted as holding revolutionary potential in a variety of fields due to the immense processing power of the machines.
The CIA, Google and NASA are among the organisations currently researching the technology through the use of quantum computers made by D-Wave.
Earlier this year, the UK government joined the list of interested parties by announcing a new £270m ($424m) strategy into quantum technology growth through the UK National Quantum Technology Programme.
The 1,000 qubit milestone surpassed by D-Wave represents a "triumph" over design and performance challenges, according to the company, and will be on display at the upcoming GEOINT conference in Tampa, Florida.
"Breaking the 1,000 qubit barrier marks the culmination of years of research and development by our scientists, engineers and manufacturing team," said D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell.
"It is a critical step toward bringing the promise of quantum computing to bear on some of the most challenging technical, commercial, scientific and national defence problems that organisations face."