The race to build a quantum computer that can outperform a conventional supercomputer is on, and researchers from all around the world are racing to the finish line.
Quantum computers, if scaled to appropriate scales, provide the most dramatic leap forward in computing in decades, with the potential to outperform our existing machines, but considerable challenges remain.
Now, a group of Chinese researchers has developed a superconducting quantum processor with 66 functional qubits that were able to outperform even the most powerful supercomputers in completing a complicated sampling operation in a quarter of the time.
What makes the finding so fascinating is how it represents a significant step toward quantum primacy, a milestone in which quantum computers execute tasks that are impossible for traditional computers to complete.
The findings were reported in the journal Physical Review Letters. Jian-Wei Pan of China’s University of Science and Technology is the team’s leader, and they have developed both this superconducting processor and a photonics-based alternative.
The researchers intended to attain quantum primacy by using sampling issues,’ which are problems whose answers are not merely solitary, but numerous random samples along with a probability distribution. With such a large number of potential outputs, it is conceivable to build a sampling issue that a traditional computer cannot solve, but quantum computers can, demonstrating quantum supremacy.
Pan and his colleagues will have to build up quantum computers to achieve this. Qubits are used in quantum computers to process data, and creating a practical quantum system requires quantum processors with more qubits than are currently available.
Due to physical limits on the semiconductor, the biggest quantum computers can presently handle roughly 50 qubits. Zuchongzhi, Pan’s new adjustable superconducting processor, has 66 functional qubits.
Zuchongzhi completed an exceedingly complicated sampling challenge in 1.2 hours, which the researchers assessed to be 2-3 times more demanding than prior problems posed to quantum computers.
The researchers only used 56 qubits for the sampling issue in this case, which is 3 qubits more than Google’s earlier claim to supremacy. Even such a minor leap, however, needs significantly more processing power for a traditional computer to perform, bolstering their claim to supremacy.
Every time a researcher asserts primacy, it is greeted with mistrust. When conventional computers are matched against quantum choices, such skepticism implies that the best algorithms for the job aren’t chosen, but with such an increase over earlier claims, Pan and colleagues expect to entirely resolve the issue that primacy has been attained.
So, what does all of this mean? To begin with, quantum computers appear to be substantially superior to traditional solutions when it comes to sampling difficulties. That is not to suggest they are not useful; significantly more innovation is needed before quantum computers can be employed for real-world operations, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Quantum processors, on the other hand, maybe the ideal option for specific computing jobs, and they be used in niche circumstances in the future.