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Google achieves “quantum supremacy” with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor

Image via Google

Google confirmed that it has officially achieved achieved quantum supremacy with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor.

Writes Engineering Director Hartmut Neven on Google’s blog:

Today, the scientific journal Nature has published the results of Google’s efforts to build a quantum computer that can perform a task no classical computer can; this is known in the field as “quantum supremacy.” In practical terms, our chip, which we call Sycamore, performed a computation in 200 seconds that would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.

IBM has downplayed the innovation saying that the the classical computer can run the same simulation in 2.5 days.

Writes the IBM Research Blog, “We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity. This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced.”

IBM also said that Google “failed to fully account for plentiful disk storage” in a traditional supercomputer to exaggerate the supremacy of its machine.

Both Google and IBM make valid points, with the objective takeaway being how quantum computing will make its way into everyday tasks and how much more potential there is in classical computing.

Either way, the 54-qubit Sycamore processor is a far cry from the 5MB hard drive that IBM released in 1956 that weighed over a ton.

By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger and curious explorer of the world who connects the dots between life, arts, and knowledge.

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