Quantum Supremacy Achieved by Google

In the world of computers, we, normal people don’t know anything about bits; how it’s computed and calculated, and what it does. However, Google LLC, one of the largest companies in the world, reports that they’ve achieved, probably another milestone in the era of computers—they’ve attained Quantum Supremacy.

Google's Sycamore Processor, Responsible for their achievement of Quantum Supremacy
This image was taken from BBC | bbc.co.uk

Now, what Quantum Supremacy is is a kind of blurred to most of us but don’t worry, we will be explaining what it is and how it is special in the world we move in today.

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What is Quantum Supremacy?

In learning what Quantum Supremacy is, we first have to understand some of the terminologies that would widely be used in this context.

  • Bit – bit short for binary digit is the smallest unit of data in the computer; it’s like the computer’s cells as it only has a single value which can either be or 1. 
  • Quantum Bit – quantum bit is the smallest unit of quantum information. Similar to a bit, a qubit can only be or 1, or both at the same time. 
  • Quantum Computer – A quantum computer is not more like a regular computer; it is a device that performs computations that classical, traditional, and supercomputers can not.
  • Circuit – a circuit is a closed path that allows electricity to flow from one single point to another.

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Those are the key terms we need to know and understand for us to know and comprehend how Quantum Supremacy works; what it is and how it can change the course of technology.

In simple terms, Quantum Supremacy is the state or the ability of quantum computing devices to solve problems that classical and supercomputers cannot. Meaning, everything we have ever dreamed of that computers cannot do? Well, it might just be something they can do in the future—with super-fast computing abilities, you can rely on them.

The Sycamore Processor

Google used Sycamore, their processor in achieving a true random-number generation in less than five (5) minutes—they were able to perform this in three (3) minutes and 20 seconds.

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What’s amazing is that even super computers in our time, won’t achieve this in this time; super computers, if directed to do the same thing, will achieve this in 10,000 years.

Normally, a regular computer, even a super computer’s bits can store information as 0 or 1 in a binary setting. Quantum computers, on the other hand, use quantum bits (qubits) which can be 0 or 1 or both 0 and 1.

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IBM’s argument towards Google’s achievement

IBM, the company that creates and maintains supercomputers; the company that operates and runs the supercomputers Google claims to have defeated, disputes Google’s claims.

They said that Google’s project did not properly account for the “plentiful disk storage” as well as other optimization methods that can be used for proving Quantum Supremacy.

IBM Researchers wrote that what Google has done can be considered as an excellent demonstration of our generation’s progress in conducting quantum computing. However, this shouldn’t be viewed as proof that quantum computers are “superior” or “supreme” over classical and supercomputers.

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Google’s experiment is an excellent demonstration of the progress in superconducting-based quantum computing, but it shouldn’t be viewed as proof that quantum computers are ‘supreme’ over classical computers.”

They’re defending against Google’s claim, saying that the same exact task that could be performed and done on a classical system in just 2.5 days, not 10,000 years because Google failed to account in the disk storage.

In spite of their continuous downplaying of the achievement Google has done, researchers and tech experts in the community warmly acknowledged and welcomed the news that Google achieved the most-awaited Quantum Supremacy, all tech companies are dying to achieve.

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When did Google start to explore the possibilities of Quantum Computing?

Sundar Pichai, Google Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said that their company started to look into the possibility of executing Quantum computing back in 2006. He said that with the breakthrough their company was able to create, a lot of things can be done for our future.

With this breakthrough we’re now one step closer to applying quantum computing to—for example—design more efficient batteries, create fertilizer using less energy, and figure out what molecules might make effective medicines.”

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Pichai dubbed this breakthrough; the success of their Sycamore processor in the world of quantum computing as “hello world.” 

What do you think about Google’s achievement of Quantum Supremacy? Do you think that this milestone would change the course of technology as we are now experiencing it?

Source: The Verge

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