Google published its monumental findings in a paper entitled "Quantum supremacy using a programmable superconducting processor". It contends a supercomputer with additional storage can solve the same problem with greater accuracy - in 2-1/2 days at most.
There is also one notable application for quantum computing - hacking Bitcoin. Ltd. Intel Labs head Rich Uhlig stressed that quantum computers are still far from commercial viability but congratulated Google on the news. By providing exponentially greater calculation power than the machines we use today, quantum computers could one day transform the way we communicate ideas, hide data and comprehend the universe. Though he said the potential threat posed by quantum computing to processes such as encryption is still "distant", the threat "is still there".
Google scientists say they've made a breakthrough in one of the most cutting-edge areas of computing, publishing a paper that demonstrates how much faster quantum computers could be versus traditional computers.
Google, however, is confident its achievement can be applied to real-world computing in the near future.
"We certainly share IBM's concerns about the general concept of "quantum supremacy" in relation to a truly application-orientated advancement of the field", he said, adding progress was likely to be achieved through such hybrid combinations.
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The possibilities presented by quantum computing are what entice companies and governments to keep plugging away at it.
But before quantum computers can break codes, security experts have plenty of time to adapt, Martinis said.
The NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division is part of the Exploration Technology Directorate at Ames and operates NASA's High-End Computing Capability Project, maintained by the agency's High-End Computing Program and managed by NASA's Science Mission Directorate. To put this into perspective, it would take the fastest supercomputer about 10,000 years to perform the same operation, which signifies a major tech milestone for the search behemoth. Applied research is growing and startups are springing up too - it's possible to book time on a quantum computer hooked up to a cloud server to do research work.
In classical computers, the unit of information is called a "bit" and can have a value of either 1 or 0. Quantum computers are prone to errors, yet our experiment showed the ability to perform a computation with few enough errors at a large enough scale to outperform a classical computer. Both of those arguments were addressed by John Preskill, the scientist who coined the phrase in 2012, in a recent article where he concluded that Google's breakthrough is nonetheless very significant.
"The quantum supremacy milestone allegedly achieved by Google is a pivotal step in the quest for practical quantum computers", John Preskill, a Caltech professor and originator of the term quantum supremacy, said. The term comes from the fact that a quantum computer relies on properties of quantum physics to perform calculations using what are called qubits, or quantum bits. After Google's paper on quantum supremacy leaked out last month, IBM - which is also conducting research into quantum computing and has a 53-qubit processor of its own - started working on a response.