‘Quantum Supremacy’, Google’s new chip can out-compute modern supercomputers
Google has already joined the race for quantum computers. The company is said to have develop a chip that is way ahead than the world’s top supercomputers.Updated: Sep 22, 2019 16:44 IST
Google has reportedly built a quantum computer that is way ahead than world’s top supercomputers in calculation - solving tasks in nearly three minutes that would otherwise take current supercomputers 10,000 years to achieve.
According to a report in Financial Times on Friday, a Google research paper has claimed the feat, saying “their processor was able to perform a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that would take today’s most advanced classical computer, known as Summit (from IBM), approximately 10,000 years”.
“To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor,” wrote the Google researchers.
In March 2018, Google unveiled its 72-qubit quantum computer chip Bristlecone, saying it was “cautiously optimistic that quantum supremacy can be achieved with Bristlecone”.
Not just Google but several tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Intel have joined the race to build a scalable quantum computer. Earlier this week, IBM unveiled its quantum computer with 53 qubits.
A quantum computer can solve complex problems that would otherwise take billions of years for today’s computers to solve. This has massive implications for research in health care, energy, environmental systems, smart materials and more.
According to Google, if a quantum processor can be operated with low enough error, it would be able to outperform a classical supercomputer on a well-defined computer science problem, an achievement known as “quantum supremacy”.
These random circuits must be large in both number of qubits as well as computational length (depth).
“Although no one has achieved this goal yet, we calculate quantum supremacy can be comfortably demonstrated with 49 qubits, a circuit depth exceeding 40, and a two-qubit error below 0.5 per cent,” Google said recently.
“We believe the experimental demonstration of a quantum processor outperforming a supercomputer would be a watershed moment for our field, and remains one of our key objectives,” it added.
Researchers at Microsoft are also busy writing the software to build a scalable computer that will help humanity unlock solutions to problems in areas such as clean energy, global warming, materials design and much more - including solving the mysteries of our universe.
If all goes well, Microsoft is confident about having one such scalable super machine within the next five years.
Based on quantum bits, the computer will not use classical bits but qubits which are not limited to binary and can have properties of 0 and 1 simultaneously, thus trying every possible number and sequence simultaneously to unlock vast amounts of data.
The current bits in computers store information as either 1 or 0, thus limiting the potential to make sense when faced with gigantic volumes of data.
“We’re looking at a five-year timeframe to build a quantum computer and what we need are roughly 100-200 good qubits with a low-error rate,” Krysta Svore, Principal Research Manager, Microsoft Quantum Computing, recently told IANS.