Google claims their experimental quantum processor computed a problem that would have taken any other supercomputer thousands of years.
Google’s 54-qubit computer was able to complete a task in 200 seconds that Google estimated would take over 10,000 years on non-quantum models.
Ordinary computers rely on lots of small calculations, each processing “bits” of information that simply hold a 1 or a 0.
In physical terms, a system of gates provides a path for electricity to flow and move data around.
Quantum computers make use of “qubits,” with extremely cold materials that allow manipulation under the classical physics-bending rules of quantum mechanics.
Qubits can essentially simultaneously hold a 1 and a 0, so a quantum computer can combine smaller calculations rather than generating them first.
This breakthrough of “quantum supremacy,” or the ability of a quantum computer to outstrip a regular computer in speed of computing, is the first of its kind to work in practice, according to Google.
Quantum machine-building competitor IBM disputed Google’s “quantum supremacy” claims. The company argues its Summit supercomputer, the one Google’s experimental quantum computer compared itself to, could perform the task in two and a half days with adjustments.