How Google could make the next quantum computing leap | FT


Quantum computers are all over
the news, but what are they and how do they differ from
conventional computing? If they can be built
economically and at scale quantum computers will
harness properties that extend beyond the
limits of classical physics to offer us exponential
gains in computing power. Classical computers are made
of bits, a unit of information that can either be a 0 or a 1. But in a quantum computer, the
basic unit, known as a qubit, can represent both 0 and 1 at
the same time, a state known as superposition. By stringing together
qubits the number of states that they
could represent rises exponentially,
enabling it to compute millions of possibilities
instantaneously. The applications of
this type of machine could revolutionise fields
from cryptography to chemistry, ranging from materials
science, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals, not to
mention artificial intelligence and energy. So far, the challenge
has been to scale up the number of qubits to
perform useful calculations while reducing the
number of errors that the qubits are prone to. This week Google has
published a landmark paper in the scientific
journal Nature. It claims to have
built a processor that can perform a very specific
calculation in 200 seconds that would take today’s most
powerful computer 10,000 years to complete. This demonstration is
known as quantum supremacy. This is just the first
step towards creating a useful quantum computer. Next, scientists will have to
build a scaled-up version that can perform real world, useful
calculations, thus achieving the promise of
quantum computing.

7 thoughts on “How Google could make the next quantum computing leap | FT

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