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Google Claims a Breakthrough in Quantum Computing

Posted on the 25 October 2019 by Anees @ZulfiqarAAnees

Google has said on Wednesday, its research team had achieved a great breakthrough in quantum computing, claiming it had achieved “quantum supremacy,” a milestone on the path to full-scale quantum computing.

Google announced the results in the journal Nature, saying that the achievement came after more than a decade of Google’s work, including the use of its in-house 53-qubit quantum computer — Sycamore.

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“Our Sycamore processor takes around 200 seconds to test a million times a single instance of a quantum circuit— our calculations currently suggest that the equivalent task for a state-of – the-art classical supercomputer will take around 10,000 years,” Nature quoted Google researchers in her study.

“Thank you to our research group partners who helped make this possible,” Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai tweeted Wednesday morning, “Very proud that our @GoogleAI team has achieved a major breakthrough in quantum computing known as quantum supremacy after over a decade of work.

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In an interview with the MIT Technology Review, Pichai said that this is an important milestone for a new way of processing data, similar to the Wright brothers ‘ 12-second first flight, although their quantum computer operating in an extremely controlled environment is still finicky, futuristic and unlikely to replace traditional computers at the moment.

But the result provided evidence that quantum computers could break out of research laboratories and head to mainstream computing, argued Pichai.

“You’d have to construct a fault-tolerant quantum computer with more qubits so you can generalize it better, perform it for longer periods of time, and thus be able to run more complex algorithms,” he said, “but you know, if you’ve got a breakthrough in any area, you start somewhere. To borrow an analogy — the Wright brothers. The first plane just flew for 12 seconds, so that’s not realistic. But it showed the possibility that a plane could fly. “

Quantum computers are entirely different from traditional ones.

The classical computers store and process data as individual bits, each a 1 or a 0, quantum computers use a different foundation, called a qubit, each of that can store a combination of different states of 1 and 0 at the same time through a phenomenon called superposition.

In addition, several qubits can be ganged together through another quantum phenomenon called entanglement, so that a quantum computer can simultaneously explore a wide range of possible solutions to a problem.

In theory, the output of a quantum computer can grow exponentially if the manufacturer adds more qubits, but instability can cause qubits to lose their data, so researchers struggle to work on techniques for error correction to allow a calculation to sidestep these problems.

A number of companies are exploring general-purpose quantum computers, including Google, Intel, Microsoft, Honeywell, Rigetti Computing, and IBM.


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