A Google quantum computer, shown here without its refrigeration housing, has multiple layers descending from top to bottom, each chilled to a colder temperature. The bottom layer, where the qubit-housing quantum computing chips reside, is only a fraction of a degree above absolute zero.
Google's Sycamore processor features dozens of tiny communication lines to link to the outside world. The chip has 54 qubits, the fundamental unit for storing and processing data in a quantum computer.
This is the quantum computer powered by Google's 54-qubit Sycamore processor that ran an experiment Google used to demonstrate quantum supremacy. The large cylinder is used to keep the computer extremely cold so outside energy doesn't perturb the super-sensitive qubits.
Google builds its Sycamore quantum computing chip out of two parts bonded together. At left is the controller interface to communicate with the outside world; at right is the chip element that houses the qubits that do the data processing. If you look closely, you can see the word "Google" made of tiny iridium dots in between.
You can't buy most quantum computer components off the shelf, so Google designs and assembles them, including its Sycamore chip. Here, researcher Jimmy Chen shows how two separate chips -- one to house 54 qubits and the other to control them -- are bonded together.
Google's Sycamore quantum computing chip has 54 qubits in a two-dimensional array. Running a program on the chip means changing the configuration of the qubits. This sculpture symbolizes the different states of the qubits with different layers as time passes.
Communicating with a quantum computer's qubits involves sending very tightly controlled electrical pulses, visible here in the oscilliscope display above, down wires that link directly to the quantum computing processor.