This Wednesday, Google made a remarkable achievement in technology and published a scientific paper in the journal Nature alongside it, talking about achieving an idea Quantum Supremacy. The paper detailed how a quantum computer with a Google-designed quantum processor called Sycamore performed. Even the most powerful supercomputer to date can’t compete with it, it did a task in 3 minutes instead of what would have taken 10,000 years otherwise.
The importance of Google’s achievement is as hard to understand as quantum computing itself is a field made possible by the mind-bending behavior of atomic-scale physics. Even though we are not there yet at making it a huge commercial and implementing it in the everyday lifestyle. It’s still a huge step in the right direction. Quantum computing is only now starting to show some of the hope researchers have hyped for decades. We’re still a long time away from seeing the true potential fulfilled, however, the new developments have been great.
What will quantum computers do?
Quantum researches at Google are already turning their attention to the next actions needed to make their devices more useful, Intel calls it quantum practicality. Now they can start experimenting and do tests that could lead to tremendous advances in specific fields.
Google has a lot of practical uses in mind:
- Complex optimization problems, such as calculating how to use the least energy to deliver packages in the shortest time.
- Improving encryption technology by generating random numbers.
- Building machine learning systems better at tasks like distinguishing between real and fake items like bogus political videos. The original impetus for Neven’s work and Google researchers think it could be the first area to deliver on quantum computing’s promise.
- Perhaps most impressive, simulating the real physics of molecular-scale materials. Revolutionary developments could mean more efficient solar panels. A new way to produce nitrogen fertilizer without needing so much energy and better electric car batteries.
A fundamental challenge is to build a high-fidelity processor capable of running quantum algorithms in an exponentially sizeable computational space.
In the early 1980s, Richard Feynman proposed that a quantum computer would be a useful tool with which to solve problems in physics and chemistry. Realizing Feynman’s vision poses substantial experimental and theoretical challenges.
The Future for quantum computing
The future for Quantum processors that are based on superconducting qubits is really bright. They can now perform computations in a Hilbert space of dimension 253 ≈ 9 × 1015. Which is beyond the reach of the fastest classical supercomputers available today. Quantum supremacy is looking to be achieved by Google in the near future.