If you haven’t been living under a rock, you might be aware of the major milestone that Google reached. Google has been able to revolutionize computing in the Quantum computing field. By using certain computing methods, the search engine has developed results which can achieve quantum supremacy.
In a study, Google published that their quantum system was able to execute one calculation in just 200 seconds which a traditional computer would take 10,000 years. The paper explains how the scientists designed and tested this method and how they achieved the level of the quantum processor. It will be able to perform complicated computational activities within 3 minutes.
Image: Ryan F. Mandelbaum
Google claims that the machine was able to compute and reach its target within 200 seconds. By comparative analysis, the scientists were able to determine that a supercomputer, even the fastest one right now, will take 10,000 years in order to get that output.
The quantum processor has been named Sycamore and the processor is of a 54-qubit which is interconnected with a lattice pattern. It looks like a regular computer processor chip but placed with a bottom casing that looks like a wedding cake turned upside-down. It is then suspended in a vacuum chamber.
The surrounding in which it is placed is progressively made cooler with each tier and then it reaches the operating temperature of 15-milliKelvin. The wires send out tiny microwave pulses to the qubits. It is put into an excited state which is measured by another small component and thus, attached to the plus sign.
Classical computers work in a binary manner. They function with bits of either a 1 or a 0. But here, the qubit can control both 0 and 1 simultaneously. The qubit is developed from a plus sign shaped superconducting wire loop. It is called a superposition, which means several qubits make up the quantum computer. It has the potential to compute several outcomes at the same time with fast execution.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, said that this has been one of the most significant milestones where quantum computing has been made into a reality. MIT computer researcher William Oliver claims that it is an outstanding achievement that such a presentation of quantum predominance has been done over the classical algorithms of today. As per Travis Humble, who is the director of the Quantum Computing Institute in Oak Ridge, the demonstration shows that quantum computers have a huge edge over conventional computers. NASA, Oak RIght National Laboratory, and Google were part of this research.
IBM, a company working in the Quantum Computing field, was not satisfied with the validity of this research. According to IBM, Google used traditional supercomputers, like IBM’s Summit machine and these supercomputers were not used to its proper efficiency. Hence, the 10,000-time mark has been achieved. They even wrote a blog and published a paper on it.
After calibrating the Summit, IBM can supposedly conduct the same experiment and the system would be able to perform the same activity within 2.5 days with better fidelity. According to the University of Sydney Quantum Information theorist, Stephen Bartlett – quantum computations, while being quite out of the grasp of conventional computers, can be conducted with proper tricks. So, according to him, this first demonstration will follow up with contentions. Scientists will try to use classical systems to simulate the same experiments.
The 10,000-year mark can be decreased by improving classical algorithms and hardware, according to Brooks Foxen from UC Santa Barbara. But the 1.5 trillion times faster mark is still a claim worth to be proud of.
As per John Martinis, a researcher in Google, IBM’s retort has not been substantiated. According to him, the Google team and the other researchers are waiting for IBM’s idea to be run on Summit as per IBM claims and then compared with the Google claim. After all, that is the scientific way – first, theorizing, and then checking if the theory stands in practical experiments.