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Has Google Achieved Quantum Supremacy?

Credit: Reuters

Google may have reached a state previously unheard of.

An anonymous source leaked that the mega-company may have achieved quantum supremacy. This, allegedly, was accomplished by using a quantum computer to complete a calculation that even the most powerful supercomputers in the world could not finish. 

This could be the first big step towards the beginning of the new era of quantum computation. Accomplishing this goal has been a focus at Google for years. The paper was briefly published on the NASA website before being removed. A plain-text version of the paper was posted on the site Pastebin and was then sent around Twitter.

The new quantum computer, Sycamore, has 54 quantum bits, otherwise called qubits. 53 of the 54 were functional. They were able to complete a series of operations in just 200 seconds. These computations would have taken 10,000 years to complete on a supercomputer. 

Random operations on the qubits are calculated leaving researchers with a random assortment of numbers that are extremely hard to reproduce with your standard computer. This is a huge breakthrough in the possibility of using a quantum computer to complete calculations that would never be possible with classical computers. This, truly, could be the beginning of a computing paradigm. 

Despite this breakthrough, researchers say we are a long way off from having a quantum computer that can be used for anything useful. Developers at IBM were not as impressed with the quantum computer. They are developing their own line and IBM’s director of research, Dario Gil, will consider this a success when, in his own words, “quantum applications deliver a significant, practical benefit beyond what classical computers alone are capable.”