Google’s newest quantum computer is extremely fast, 47 Years faster than other Supercomputers
Google researchers recently published a paper on arXiv (Cornell University). Scientists claim the latest technology is “beyond the capabilities of existing classical supercomputers”. The technology is based on the strange states of quantum physics, and such a computer has the power to fight climate change and even create unprecedented medicines, according to this paper.
To understand where it has reached with performance, we have to go back to four years ago when Google launched the first supercomputer. The unit of measurement of power for such a machine is the qubit. If, in the classical system, a bit is of one state or another (0 or 1), in the quantum system, a qubit can be in both states simultaneously (10 or 01). While the computer launched in 2019 had 53 qubits, the new variant now has 70.
Adding these qubits improves the power of a quantum computer. The new model is 241 million times more powerful than the one launched in 2019. Researchers needed a complex synthetic benchmark called “Random Circuit Sampling” to calculate the power.
According to researchers at Frontier, the world’s leading supercomputer, it takes 6.18 seconds to do a calculation similar to one made by Google’s 53-qubit computer launched in 2019. Frontier would need 47.2 years to match Google’s newest quantum computer.
Google’s work also demonstrated how the large components of quantum computers can handle “noise” better. It’s about interference that threatens to disrupt the fragile states in which qubits operate.
Quantum computers and practical applications
Many critics believe that power has no practical value beyond momentary academic study. Steve Brierley, chief executive of Cambridge-based quantum computing company Revrlane, claims:
“This is a major milestone. The ‘controversy’ over whether we have achieved or could achieve quantum supremacy is now settled.”
The Brighton-based startup Universal Quantul chief executive, Sebastian Weidt, says these computers should demonstrate more practical functions. Although we are talking about a great achievement from an academic point of view, the algorithm used has no practical applications in the real world.
Weidt also says that we should get to utility quantum computing. Then, these quantum computers with thousands of qubits will begin to provide value to society in a way that classical computers will never be able to.