The race for quantum computers is heating up as the Chinese overtake Google


Chinese quantum computer surpasses Google’s “quantum supremacy”. Source: University of Science and Technology of China

  • China introduces an advanced 66 qubit quantum supercomputer called “Zuchongzhi”
  • The Chinese team claims to have solved a problem in just over an hour that would otherwise take the world’s most powerful classic supercomputer eight years to crack.

Quantum computing is still in its infancy. In 2019, Google announced that it had achieved quantum supremacy with its 54-qubit Sycamore processor that could do a calculation in 200 seconds. It would have taken the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years to complete this task. A team in China has now proven that it has the most powerful quantum computer in the world, Google skips.

In a non-peer-reviewed paper published late last month, Pan Jianwei’s team, a physicist at Hefei University of Science and Technology, revealed a sophisticated 66-qubit quantum supercomputer called Zuchongzhi, the metric, the most powerful machine of its kind we’ve seen so far.

According to a report from Science alert, Zuchongzhi completed a particular quantum benchmark task in about 70 minutes, and its creators claim that the world’s most powerful “classical” (non-quantum) supercomputer to date would take about eight years to perform the same calculations.

In this context, quantum computing is still in its infancy, but it promises to take computing power to a new level by manipulating subatomic particles. Scientists hope there will be breakthroughs in areas like Materials science and new drug development.

“Our work establishes a clear quantum computer advantage that cannot be achieved in a reasonable amount of time for classical calculations. The high-precision and programmable quantum computing platform opens a new door to research new types of many-body phenomena and to implement complex quantum algorithms, ”the researchers explain in a Pre-printed paper describe the experiment.

The experiment was described by the news service as about “100 times more challenging than one performed” The Sycamore quantum processor from Google two years ago. More than 50 scientists are involved in the quantum project and some are affiliated with institutes such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the quantum information technology developer QuantumCTek.

It is important to note that a quantum computer is not yet ready to do useful work. Google and competitors like IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel and several large startups have invested heavily in the development of quantum computer hardware in recent years. Google and IBM provide access to their latest prototypes over the Internet, while those from Microsoft and Amazon Cloud platforms everyone hosts a hodgepodge of quantum hardware from others, including Honeywell.

Quantum Superiority and Its Impact on the Real World

The potential performance of quantum computers arises from their basic building blocks, the so-called qubits. Like the bits in conventional computers, they can represent zeros and ones of data; However, qubits can also use quantum mechanics to achieve an unusual state called superposition, which encompasses the possibilities of both.

With enough qubits, it is possible to take mathematical shortcuts that conventional computers cannot – an advantage that grows as more qubits work together

Quantum computers do not yet rule the world because the engineers have not succeeded in getting enough qubits to work together reliably enough. The quantum mechanical effects on which they depend are very delicate. Google and the Chinese company were able to carry out their supremacy experiments because they managed to collect qubits in relatively large numbers.

Google’s experiment used a superconducting chip called Sycamore with 54 qubits that was cooled to fractions of a degree above absolute zero. One qubit did not work, but the remaining 53 were enough to demonstrate superiority over traditional computers on a carefully selected statistical problem.

It is unclear how many good quality qubits are required for a quantum computer to do useful work; Expert estimates range from hundreds to millions.

The Chinese team’s accomplishments include demonstrating the use of quantum encryption over record breaking distances, including the use of a satellite specially designed for quantum communication Secure a video call between China and Austria.

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