Google claims supercomputer has achieved “quantum supremacy”
Scientists claim to have achieved “quantum supremacy,” a breakthrough that could change the history of computing.
Google researchers say they have crossed a milestone, which means a quantum computer has performed an operation that classical computers are not yet capable of..
Quantum supremacy marks the first step in an area that researchers say can change the world. Quantum computers are theoretically capable of doing work significantly faster than the computers we use today and can significantly change our understanding of the capabilities of machines..
IBM researchers have already criticized Google’s breakout claims, suggesting that the new discovery is not as fundamental as it is claimed. However, the new study is published in the prestigious journal Nature and outlines the principles of the long-known circulating rumor about breakthrough.
Google researchers claim that their computer, known as the Sycamore, is capable of completing a task in 200 seconds, which in traditional computer computing will take about 10 thousand years.
«This dramatic increase in speed over all known classical algorithms is an experimental implementation of quantum superiority for this particular computational problem, foreshadowing the much anticipated computational paradigm», – the researchers write in a recently published article.
The task used by Google researchers to test their system is currently largely useless, and its main function is to generate random numbers. But this is the first time that any task of this kind has ever been has been successfully demonstrated and could lead to more practical applications very soon, researchers argue.
«As a result of these developments, quantum computing is moving from a research topic to a technology that opens up new computational possibilities, the researchers conclude. – We are just one creative algorithm far from valuable applications».
The company is currently hoping to create a system that can handle more advanced operations that could be used in a wide variety of areas..
«Such a device promises the appearance of a number of valuable applications, – the researchers write in their blog. “ For example, we can imagine quantum computing helping to develop new materials – lightweight batteries for cars and airplanes, new catalysts that can produce fertilizers more efficiently (a process that today generates more than 2% of the world‘s carbon emissions), and more effective drugs.
«It will still take years of hard engineering and scientific work to achieve the necessary computing power. But now we clearly see the path and strive to move forward», – scientists note.
Rumors of a Google breakthrough have been circulating with of the past months when the preliminary version of the scientific work appeared. But the publication of the study in Nature is the first public discussion of the problem, and everyone can get acquainted with the results of the researchers’ work..
The publication has already undergone criticism from IBM, which claims that the article is fundamentally flawed because Google overestimated the complexity of the task and how long it would take to complete it on a classic computer. The task on a classical computer will actually take about two and a half days and will be done more efficiently than on a Google quantum computer, IBM claims in a blog post published two days prior to publication. Nature.
Phrase «quantum superiority» also drew criticism – both for terminological similarities with white supremacy, and for the fact that it could stimulate advertising hype around the status of quantum technologies. Both of these arguments were addressed by John Preskill, the scientist who coined the phrase in 2012, in a recent article in which he concluded that Google’s breakthrough is nevertheless very important..