According to Google, the company has achieved a significant milestone in quantum computing. With a 53 qubit chip, the company was able to solve a complex calculation in 3 minutes and 20 seconds. According to the company, a traditional supercomputer would have taken more than 10,000 years.
Google describes its breakthrough in a scientific paper, reports Silicon Angle . In this paper, the company states that it has achieved ‘quantum supremacy’ by solving this problem so quickly with a quantum computer.
Quantum supremacy means that a quantum computer can find the answer to a calculation problem that is difficult to solve, faster than a conventional computer. This is an important milestone in the field, which had not been achieved so far.
The computer that is said to have been defeated in terms of speed, is the largest supercomputer in the world: the Summit system of the American Department of Energy, with a computing speed of 200 petaflops.
New qubit design
Google achieved the milestone with the computer Sycamore. For the task, this quantum computer had to be equipped with a new, more reliable qubit design based on superconducting metals. In this way, calculation errors were prevented.
In the end, Google succeeded. The Google researchers have added a new type of controller, which can be used to disable the interactions between qubits. This reduces the amount of errors in a multi-connected qubit system.
Criticism from IBM
However, not everyone agrees with Google that quantum supremacy has been achieved. The paper in question was leaked a month ago, and IBM reacted with some criticism. Big Blue stated that a traditional computer theoretically takes only 2.5 days to solve the calculation used by Google, not 10,000 years.
Other organizations do react positively to the claimed breakthrough. Rich Uhlig, head of Intel Labs, congratulated the Internet giant on the news. However, he emphasises that quantum computers are far from being commercially viable.