Google Appears to Achieve Quantum Supremacy
October 9, 2019 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Last month the Financial Times reported that Google documents confirm attaining quantum supremacy, or that a quantum computer can outperform a traditional computer. Rivals call Google's claims misguided. While some researchers had believed that quantum supremany was still several years away, others had believed that it was only a matter of time before google would demonstrate this milestone.

While an important step to demonstrate a path to scalable quantum computing (something that was previously only theoretical), there is still a long ways to go before quantum computing can be used in practical applications. Experts believe that quantum computer could revolutionize many varying fields including chemistry and cryptography.
posted by seesom (2 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Heya, it looks like these are paywalled, but Mefi posts need to have content that's accessible; maybe there are non-paywalled sources? Hit us up at the contact form to talk about an edit. -- LobsterMitten

Most of the links are paywalled.
posted by octothorpe at 10:24 AM on October 9

Wired has been reporting on this for a while:
Google, Alibaba Spar Over Timeline for 'Quantum Supremacy' (05.19.2018)
In March, Google unveiled a chip called Bristlecone intended to set a computing milestone. It could, Google said, become the first quantum computing system to perform a calculation beyond the power of any conventional computer—a marker known as quantum supremacy. The group’s leader, John Martinis, suggested it could reach supremacy this year, updating an earlier prediction that his team might do so in 2017.

But new results from Alibaba’s quantum researchers suggest Google’s published plans for Bristlecone can’t achieve quantum supremacy after all. Chips with lower error rates will be needed, they argue. In an email, Google researcher Sergio Boixo told WIRED that he welcomes such research, but there are “a number of questions” about the paper’s results. Others see them as notable. “The goalposts have moved,” says Itay Hen, a professor at the University of Southern California.
Why Google's Quantum Victory Is a Huge Deal—and a Letdown (09.26.2019)
On one hand, these researchers managed to execute an extremely complex experiment built on painstaking mathematical proofs and years of hardware development—an undeniable achievement. Yet the experiment brings them no closer to the money-making applications that the quantum community has promised, where the computer’s unique number-crunching capabilities will reveal new molecules for better batteries, drugs, and more, at speeds that would put normal computers to shame. It’s both a major victory and a bit of a letdown.
And The WIRED Guide to Quantum Computing -- Everything you ever wanted to know about qubits, superpositioning, and spooky action at a distance. (08.24.2018)

It's a good recap of history and events to that point. Also of note -- Wired tracks page visits per month, and now gets angry if you visit in private mode, but if you can delete elements, you can get around that pretty easily (if not, it's a paywall).

For a non-paywalled article, here's Ars Technica's coverage of the latest news: Paper leaks showing a quantum computer doing something a supercomputer can’t -- Google's system generates quantum statistics that we just can't simulate. (9/24/2019)
Over the weekend, the Financial Times claimed that Google researchers had demonstrated "quantum supremacy" in a draft research paper that had briefly appeared on a NASA Web server before being pulled. But the details of what Google had achieved were left vague. In the interim Ars has acquired copies of the draft paper, and we can confirm the Financial Times' story. More importantly, we can now describe exactly what Google suggests it has achieved.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:28 AM on October 9

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