Google achieves first quantum computer-only breakthrough

UPDATE: The paper has been reportedly been taken out from its source and is withdrawn. This was then followed by an official statement at a Financial Times interview from the head of research at IBM Dario Gil that disputes the claim as “just plain wrong”.

Google has now claimed “quantum supremacy”, at least according to its latest report about its quantum computer research. The tech giant’s own quantum computer has just reached a new computational achievement that no other computer today could ever replicate.

Sycamore, a 53-qubit quantum chip designed by Google, was given the task to do a computational operation that cannot be done on traditional computers. This a predicted milestone that would mark the beginning of what is known as the quantum supremacy. Originally, this undertaking was given to the 72-qubit computer using the Bristlecone architecture. However, it proved to be just a little bit too difficult to control with a Bristlecone-based unit, as data integrity still suffers from considerable value errors.

Nonetheless, despite the massive hurdles, the successor has finally surpassed its predecessor with last week’s achievement. According to Google, the Sycamore-based quantum computer was able to solve a random number calculation in just a little more than three minutes, something that the best binary data-based supercomputer today can only solve in 10,000 years. Additionally, it was also capable of significantly reducing what is known as “crosstalk”, a common issue in quantum computers where qubits interfere with one another’s values.

So, with the “quantum supremacy” apparently achieved, does it mean quantum computers will take over in the next few years? Probably in the next few decades, not just within a few years. All quantum computers today are designed much like the prototype mainframe units of the early days of the computer. It’s usable. It’s serviceable. But, they definitely are not commercial-level.

Enterprise applications would, however, be available much earlier, as quantum computers are essentially most useful in things that normal, consumer-grade, cheaper computers are not capable of doing as efficiently. A few things in mind are fabricating new chemicals, breaking codes, sequencing DNA, machine learning, and other stuff.

Even if Google’s recent achievement is still far away from practical quantum computers, it is still a huge leap forward. The tech giant’s quantum computer did, after all, finally reached in computers what fusion still attempts to achieve in energy research today.

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