Google claims quantum supremacy in paper

A paper by Google researchers was spotted on a NASA website before being taken down that claimed the Sycamore quantum computer did a calculation impossible for today's fastest supercomputers. (Metamorworks)

A recent report claimed Google has built a quantum computer that was able to perform a calculation in three minutes that would have taken about 10,000 years for today’s fastest computer.

Google hasn’t commented. 

According to Financial Times, a paper by Google researchers was posted recently on NASA’s website before being taken down. It claimed to perform the calculation giving its quantum computer the designation of “quantum supremacy.”

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FT quoted the paper as saying, “this dramatic speed-up relative to all known classical algorithms provides an experimental realization of quantum supremacy on a computational task and heralds the advent of a much-anticipated computing paradigm. To our knowledge this marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor.” They added that using quantum computing to solve practical problems is still years off, they added.

Without a doubt quantum computing is real. Whether the report and Google’s achievement is real is another matter.

In quantum computing, quantum bits (known as qubits) can represent both zeros and ones at the same time.  When qubits are put in sequence they can represent different states, making it possible to complete millions of computations quickly.

Google once said it could reach quantum supremacy in 2017. Its first system with 72 qubits was difficult to control so the researchers there changed the system to a 53-qubit architecture that was codenamed Sycamore.

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Quantum computing is considered a game-changer for cryptography, AI and machine learning. IBM, Microsoft, Intel and other companies are pursuing quantum computing research.

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