This seems to be a wildly overstated article on a fairly benign paper. They most certainly did not replicate life within a quantum computer. Are science reporters really this bad? What am I missing?
Unfortunately, sometimes, yes. The proliferation of sites looking for science-related content relative to the number of folks with relevant expertise does not create a great environment for consistently well-informed science journalism. There may also be something about the tendency of science education to produce specialists while science reporting requires generalists.
Simulation studies also seem to be a particular blindspot. Perhaps because that approach to science is relatively new? Perhaps because of the need to describe the research in concrete terms, there is a bias towards describing simulations as “creating” something in the computer? And of course any time you invoke ‘quantum’ there is the risk of additional haziness.