The World’s Most Powerful Quantum Computer

The title of world’s most powerful quantum computer now belongs to the University of Science and Technology of China’s (USTC) Jiuzhang system. Powered by 126 photon qubits, Jiuzhang has achieved major milestones that demonstrate computational capabilities unmatched by any other quantum platform today.

A pic of Jiuzhang quantum computer project.
A pic of Jiuzhang quantum computer project. Credit: University of Science and Technology of China

In early 2023, the Jiuzhang quantum computer accomplished the remarkable feat of quantum supremacy, solving problems seen as impossible for traditional binary computers. This includes breaking an encryption scheme in just minutes that would have taken the world’s most advanced supercomputer over 2 billion years to crack.

By leveraging the quantum mechanical phenomena of superposition and entanglement, Jiuzhang can process vast combinations of states in parallel. With its recent upgrades, researchers are unlocking more of this quantum parallelism, applying Jiuzhang to tackle challenges in areas like new material design, machine learning, finance modeling, and more.

As a pioneer in quantum photonics hardware, Jiuzhang represents a versatile testbed for advancing quantum information science into practical domains. The system also continues to expand, with plans to incorporate over 260 qubits by 2025 as well as leading-edge error correction.

Competing Quantum Computers

While Jiuzhang currently dominates in terms of overall capability, other advanced quantum computers are emerging around the world:

  • IBM recently announced their 433-qubit Osprey system using superconducting hardware, although specific performance benchmarks have not matched Jiuzhang’s as yet.
  • Google’s Sycamore quantum processor now operates with 72 qubits, aiming to achieve the breadth of quantum volume over raw qubit count.
  • Startups like Rigetti and IonQ build increasingly powerful modular gate-model quantum processors available via cloud access.
  • Alibaba and other Chinese companies are also rumored to have advanced R&D, but public details are sparse.


The quantum computing race still has far to go before unleashing the full earth-shaking possibilities of quantum technology. But the benchmarks set by USTC’s Jiuzhang quantum computer underscore that we have entered a new era. Its functional quantum supremacy over any classical computer signals a watershed moment for information technology. With its combination of proven results on real problems, processing power, and roadmap for expansion, Jiuzhang sits firmly at the apex as today’s most powerful quantum computer both in theory and tangible capability.

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