Google says it’s achieved “quantum supremacy” with a prototype computer

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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.

google quantum supremacy
Google quantum supremacy: 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. Picture via Google

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.

With quantum computing prototypes within reach, there are possibilities for medical advancements and concerns about the danger to encryption security. [AP News, Newsweek, NYT, The Verge, NYT]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. That means in 200 seconds it is capable of cryptocurency mining same quantity (bitcoin/whatever) which other computers mine in 10000 years. Interesting, isn’t it?

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