Google becomes the first company to attain Quantum supremacy, says report

Google claims to have achieved ‘quantum supremacy’ by calculating beyond the capability of today’s most advanced ‘classical’ computers, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The scientific paper published by Google’s researchers and seen by the FT before being removed from NASA’s website earlier this week. The researchers in the paper claim that “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.”

The researchers used Google’s Sycamore (53-qubit design) quantum computer for the problem. Since the problem was solved using quantum computers which otherwise cannot be solved using a classical computer, this achievement is being phrased as “quantum supremacy”.

“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 experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor,” wrote Google researchers in the paper.

The team also indicated the accomplishment of quantum supremacy to be “a milestone towards full-scale quantum computing”. They also predicted that the power of quantum computers will increase at a “double exponential rate”, in comparison to the exponential rate of Moore’s Law.

Despite the impressive feat, quantum computers are still a long way from being ready for conventional use and replacing traditional computers.

A quantum computer is capable of solving complex calculations that would otherwise take billions of years for standard machines to solve. With quantum computing, it is possible to unlock solutions to problems in areas such as artificial intelligence, health care, clean energy, global warming, smart materials design and much more.

Besides Google, even tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and other companies are developing their own versions of a quantum computer.

In March 2018, Google unveiled its 72-qubit quantum computer chip Bristlecone, saying at the time that it was “cautiously optimistic that quantum supremacy can be achieved with Bristlecone”.

Earlier this week, IBM unveiled its 14th quantum computer with 53 qubits that will be for quantum computing customers via cloud in October.