**(EurekaAlert)** Scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today.

Three years ago, physicists first simulated the spontaneous formation of a pair of elementary particles with a digital quantum computer at the University of Innsbruck. Due to the error rate, however, more complex simulations would require a large number of quantum bits that are not yet available in today’s quantum computers.

Rick van Bijnen at the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now surpassed these limits. They use a programmable ion trap quantum computer with 20 quantum bits as a quantum coprocessor, in which quantum mechanical calculations that reach the limits of classical computers are outsourced. “We use the best features of both technologies,” explains experimental physicist Christine Maier. “The quantum simulator takes over the computationally complex quantum problems and the classical computer solves the remaining tasks.