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In a significant leap for the field of quantum computing, Google has reportedly engineered a quantum computer that can execute calculations in mere moments that would take the world’s most advanced supercomputers nearly half a century to process.
The news, reported by the Daily Telegraph, could signify a landmark moment in the evolution of this emerging technology.
Quantum computing, a science that takes advantage of the oddities of quantum physics, remains a fast-moving and somewhat contentious field.
Quantum computers promise to revolutionize sectors like climate science and drug discovery. They offer computation speeds far beyond those of their classical counterparts.
How does Google’s quantum computer work?
What happens is that classic processors operate only with bits. These save the information with only zeros or ones.
However, Google’s new processor works with qubits, where each bit can present the two values simultaneously, according to the law of quantum physics.
In this way, when combining two qubits, four possible states are obtained that overlap.
With three, there are already eight, and with four qubits, there are 16 different states simultaneously.
This fundamental difference allows quantum computers to take the lead.
Basics of Quantum Computing
Traditional computers operate based on bits, which can remain in a state of 0 or 1. Quantum computers, on the other hand, run on quantum bits, known as qubits. Unlike traditional bits, a qubit can exist in both states simultaneously, thanks to a quantum principle called superposition.
Superposition increases the computing power of a quantum computer exponentially. For example, two qubits can exist in four statuses simultaneously (00, 01, 10, 11), three qubits in eight states, and so on. It allows quantum computers to process a massive number of possibilities at once.
The importance of the quantum computer
- As highlighted in the study, the new computer’s primary importance lies in its demonstration.
- The possibility of creating a quantum processor that works and can perform calculations.
- Therefore, in essence, it is a technology demonstration.
- This milestone is also of great importance due to the significant obstacles that make it challenging to create a device like this.
- But Google engineers overcame them. An example is that quantum processors need shallow temperature environments to operate, which is difficult to achieve.
- As the study reveals, this milestone demonstrates that “quantum acceleration can be achieved in a real system and is not obstructed by any laws of occult physics.”
- A relatively simple calculation was carrying out with random data that made it necessary for the research. For example, to handle large volumes of information.
- Google’s engineers admit that this task doesn’t have many practical uses, something they don’t care about because Sycamore has a different goal.
- In essence, its primary mission is to demonstrate that it is possible to use a computer with a quantum processor.
- And a power greater than that of any current computer.
- As this technology develops, there will be times when such speed is proper.
Applications of Quantum Computers
The unusual characteristics of quantum computing make it ideal for solving complex problems that classical computers struggle with.
Cryptography is a notable area where quantum computing can make a significant difference. The capacity to factor large numbers quickly makes quantum computers a threat to current encryption systems but also opens the door for developing more secure quantum encryption methods.
In medicine, quantum computing could enable the modeling of complex molecular structures, speeding up drug discovery. Quantum simulations could offer insights into new materials and processes that might take years to discover through experimentation.
Challenges in Quantum Computing
Despite its promising potential, quantum computing is not without challenges. Quantum states are delicate, and maintaining them for a practical length of time known as quantum coherence is a significant hurdle. The slightest environmental interference can cause qubits to lose their state, a phenomenon known as decoherence.
Quantum error correction is another daunting challenge. Due to the fragility of qubits, errors are more likely to occur in quantum computations than classical ones. Developing efficient error correction methods that don’t require a prohibitive number of qubits remains a central focus in quantum computing research.
The Future of Quantum Computing
While quantum computing is still in its infancy, the rapid pace of innovation signals a promising future. Tech giants like IBM, Google, and Microsoft, as well as numerous startups, are making significant strides in quantum computing research.
In the coming years, we can expect quantum computers to continue growing in power and reliability. Quantum supremacy a point where quantum computers surpass classical computers in computational capabilities—may be closer than we think.
Quantum computing represents a thrilling frontier, promising to reshape how we tackle complex problems. As research and development persist, we inch closer to unlocking the full potential of this revolutionary technology.
- The IBM company was quick to deny the results achieved by Google engineers.
- As an example of the optimization that Google engineers ignored in their calculations, the enormous free space that the IBM Summit could have on its hard drives would decrease the calculation time.
- With this, IBM recognized that the startup of a quantum computer is an actual technological achievement.
- “The Google experiment is an excellent demonstration of progress in quantum computing, but it should not be seeing as proof that quantum computers are superior to classical ones.”