Sci-tech

"Quantum supremacy" achieved on the Central Coast

Since the 1980s, scientists have postulated that quantum mechanics is the future of computing. It estimates that the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee would take 10,000 years to complete the task.

According to Google, such a huge win fulfils the accepted definition of supremacy.

It all sounds very futuristic, but what does Quantum Supermacy actually mean?

Ivanka Trump recently claimed the USA has "achieved quantum supremacy" in a collaboration between "the Trump Admin, Google and UC Santa Barbara".

It has always been theorized that quantum computers would have certain advantages over traditional machines. "Sycamore showcased an algorithm that becomes exponentially harder for classical machines to emulate as the number of quantum bits increases". In simple terms these represent "yes" and "no", or "on" and "off". In combination, bits can be used to handle logical tasks.

"But before quantum computers can break codes, security experts have plenty of time to adapt, " Martinis said. In the jargon, this is called superposition.

Still, most blockchain boosters have more concern than enthusiasm for the advent of quantum computing.

Another property of sub-atomic particles is for them to become "entangled" - meaning that they can influence each other's behaviour in an observable way.

Yesterday, Google announced that its 54-qubit Sycamore processor pulled off a rather complicated mathematical calculation in just 200 seconds. In the experiment only 53 could be made to work - still enough to produce a successful result.

More news: Huawei, Apple gain bigger share of shrinking China smartphone market

Why did it take so long to get here?

"Quantum computing is making an impact most immediately as a kind of design principle for some areas of experimental physics". It has manufactured a handful of chips with 54 "qubits", vastly more powerful than the standard 64-bit chip in many consumer devices.

Does this mean that old computers are finished?

Not just Google but several tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Intel have joined the race to build a scalable quantum computer.

By adding disk storage the Summit supercomputer - which is made by IBM - could have solved Google's random number problem in at most 2-1/2 days, with greater accuracy, they say.

Sceptics also argue that Google has only solved a very narrow task, and that quantum computing is still a long way away from practical use.

They then had the quantum computer detect patterns in a series of seemingly random numbers, and it succeeded in three minutes and 20 seconds.

"We're proud to have contributed to this major milestone, ushering in the next gen of quantum tech in the United States of America!", she wrote, noting how Trump "signed the National Quantum Initiative Act into law, supporting robust quantum R&D". "One day, quantum computers may even contribute to artificial intelligence and logistics optimization". It also said Google risked misleading the public by implying the new-style computers would replace existing ones.

Is Google in the lead?

But at the same time Google CEO Sunder Pichai mentioned, indeed it is a great achievement, however, it should take care and use wisely. Well, a quantum computer has the potential to be ridiculously more powerful than classic computers and even the best supercomputers in the world (I'm looking at you Watson). "The United States has taken a great leap forward in quantum computing", said U.S. chief technology officer Michael Kratsios on Wednesday.



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