While the breakthrough leaked last month, the company provided new details with the publication of a new article in the scientific journal, Nature.
The company says that their 54-qbit Sycamore processor was able to perform a calculation in 200 seconds which would have taken the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years.
Unsurprisingly, IBM, the company that operates the supercomputer that Google claims to have beaten, and a key quantum computer competitor, is disputing Google’s claims. In a blog post published pre-emptively on Monday, the company said that the same task could be performed on a classical system in just 2.5 days, rather than the 10,000 years that Google is claiming. IBM says that Google “failed to fully account for plentiful disk storage” when estimating how long its traditional supercomputer would take to perform the calculation. –The Verge
Quantum supremacy has raised concerns that the company will be able to crack the strongest encryption, including the blockchain. That said, ex-Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd called the achievement a “primitive type of quantum computing that is nowhere near breaking cryptography.”
“We still don’t even know if it’s possible to scale quantum computers; quite possible that adding qbits will have an exponential cost,” he added.
Some scientists have likened the breakthrough to the Wright brothers’ first plane flight in 1903, “proof that something is really possible even though it may be years before it can fulfill its potential,” according to the New York Times.
“The original Wright flyer was not a useful airplane,” said University of Texas computer scientist Scott Aaronson. “But it was designed to prove a point. And it proved the point.”
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