Why Google’s Quantum Supremacy Milestone is a Trending Discussion

quantum computing
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  • According to their official blog, Google has claimed that its quantum computer can perform calculations at a much faster rate than a supercomputer.
  • Google has developed “Sycamore”, a latest 54-qubit processor that consists of speedy and high-fidelity quantum logic gates for performing the benchmark testing.
  • However, some researchers are standing against Google’s claim on the quantum supremacy milestone.

Google officially announced on 23rd October that it attained the milestone of “quantum supremacy” in the latest article published in the scientific journal ‘Nature’. The company has published the results of the quantum supremacy experiment in the journal and revealed that their scientists have performed this task with a chip of 54 qubits. The full details of the experiment are public along with the results. Google further says that its 54 qubit processor, “Sycamore” performed the target computation in 200 seconds which will take 10,000 years for the world’s fastest supercomputer to produce similar results. This quantum supremacy milestone achieved by Google is a long-predicted step towards the use of quantum computers.

However, the company IBM who deals with supercomputer operations has refused to accept Google’s claims. In their official blog-post, the company said that it will take only 2.5 days to perform the same task on a classical system instead of 10,000 years as stated by Google. While estimating the amount of time its conventional supercomputer would take to calculate the output, IBM also further says Google has failed to completely account for the large storage of disk.

Many scientists are arguing that the calculation performed by Google’s quantum computer is not a very useful one. Some researchers are not accepting this milestone saying that the milestone has yet to be achieved. They feel that Google has a lot more to achieve to assume their control on quantum computers.

What is a Quantum Computer?

Conventional computers are based on the physics of electricity i.e. their flow depends on the on and off of switches. Unlike traditional computers, quantum computers are not designed based on electricity flow. They completely are subject to laws of quantum mechanics i.e. quantum computers depend on electrons, photons, and other parts of matter. As compared to classical computers, quantum computers have a higher capability to process exponentially large amounts of data instead of just 1s or 0s. While traditional computers perform operations based on a bit, quantum computers operate on the qubit.

The quantum computer “Sycamore” developed by Google has the potential to run general-purpose quantum algorithms. The team has been working on its applications that involve quantum chemistry, quantum physics simulation, and other generative learning applications.

Despite the criticism of IBM and other scientists on Google’s achievement, many top research communities have praise Google’s efforts. As quoted by The New York Times, researchers have compared this achievement to the Wright brothers’ invention of flight plane in 1903. It may need many years to have quantum computers utilize for practical work, but Google’s quantum supremacy milestone can be called a breakthrough for more advanced developments in quantum computers in the future.


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