Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Google Touts Quantum Computing Milestone
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 4 years ago on
October 23, 2019

Share

SAN FRANCISCO — Google said it has achieved a breakthrough in quantum computing research, saying an experimental quantum processor has completed a calculation in just a few minutes that would take a traditional supercomputer thousands of years.

The findings, published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, show that “quantum speedup is achievable in a real-world system and is not precluded by any hidden physical laws,” the researchers wrote.

Quantum computing is a nascent and somewhat bewildering technology for vastly sped-up information processing. Quantum computers are still a long way from having a practical application but might one day revolutionize tasks that would take existing computers years, including the hunt for new drugs and optimizing city and transportation planning.

The technique relies on quantum bits, or qubits, which can register data values of zero and one — the language of modern computing — simultaneously. Big tech companies including Google, Microsoft, IBM and Intel are avidly pursuing the technology.

Google’s Findings Are Already Facing Pushback

“Quantum things can be in multiple places at the same time,” said Chris Monroe, a University of Maryland physicist who is also the founder of quantum startup IonQ. “The rules are very simple, they’re just confounding.”

“Quantum things can be in multiple places at the same time. The rules are very simple, they’re just confounding.” — Chris Monroe, a University of Maryland physicist who is also the founder of quantum startup IonQ

Google’s findings, however, are already facing pushback from other industry researchers. A version of Google’s paper leaked online last month and researchers caught a glimpse before it was taken down.

IBM quickly took issue with Google’s claim that it had achieved “quantum supremacy,” a term that refers to a point when a quantum computer can perform a calculation that a traditional computer can’t complete within its lifetime. Google’s paper shows that its quantum processor, Sycamore, finished a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds — and that it would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to do the same thing.

Google calculation is a random sampling problem similar to dice roll or gambling machine to find outputs from a huge set of combinations of different numbers.

But IBM researchers say that Google underestimated the conventional supercomputer, called Summit, and said it could actually do the calculation in 2.5 days. Summit was developed by IBM and is located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Quantum Computing Research Can Enter a New Stage

Google dismissed IBM’s claims, asserting in a statement Wednesday that it performed its tests on an “actual supercomputer” and is now on a “totally different trajectory” from classical computers. The company said Sycamore demonstrates that it is now “performing on real hardware a computation that’s prohibitively hard for even the world’s fastest supercomputer, with more double exponential growth to come.”

Whether or not Google has achieved “quantum supremacy” or not may matter to competitors, but the semantics could be less important for the field of quantum research. What it does seem to indicate is that the field is maturing.

“The quantum supremacy milestone allegedly achieved by Google is a pivotal step in the quest for practical quantum computers,” John Preskill, a Caltech professor who originally coined the “quantum supremacy” term, wrote in a column after the paper was leaked.

It means quantum computing research can enter a new stage, he wrote, though a significant effect on society “may still be decades away.”

One Feared Outcome of Quantum Computing

The calculation employed by Google has little practical use, Preskill wrote, other than to test how well the processor works. Monroe echoed that concern.

“The more interesting milestone will be a useful application.” — John Preskill, a Caltech professor who originally coined the ‘quantum supremacy’ term

“The more interesting milestone will be a useful application,” he said.

The promise of such future applications in commerce and national security has attracted interest from governments including the United States and China that are increasingly investing in the expensive basic research needed to make quantum computers useful. One feared outcome of quantum computing — though experts say it could be decades away — is a computer powerful enough to break today’s best cryptography.

President Donald Trump last year signed into law a congressional proposal to spend $1.2 billion over five years for quantum research across the federal government.

Google’s research was centered at a University of California, Santa Barbara laboratory but relied in part on a Department of Energy supercomputer and experts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to verify the work.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, on Wednesday called Google’s breakthrough a “remarkable scientific achievement” that will help usher in future U.S. industries.

DON'T MISS

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

DON'T MISS

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

DON'T MISS

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

DON'T MISS

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

DON'T MISS

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

DON'T MISS

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

DON'T MISS

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

UP NEXT

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

UP NEXT

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

UP NEXT

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

UP NEXT

Tennessee Lawmakers Send Bill to Ban First-Cousin Marriages to Governor

UP NEXT

Instagram Blurs Nude Messages to Protect Teens, Fight Sexual Extortion

UP NEXT

Harvard Again Requiring Standardized Test Scores for Those Seeking Admission

UP NEXT

After Fong Ruling, a ‘Bitter Pill to Swallow’ for US Senate Losers Katie Porter & Barbara Lee?

UP NEXT

Wife of Julian Assange Says Biden’s Comments Mean Case Could Be Moving in the Right Direction

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

19 hours ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

20 hours ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

1 day ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

1 day ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

1 day ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

1 day ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

1 day ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

1 day ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

2 days ago

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

2 days ago

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and his national security team monitored Iran’s aerial attack against Israel on Saturday as U.S. forces joi...

4 hours ago

4 hours ago

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

18 hours ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

19 hours ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

19 hours ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

20 hours ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

1 day ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

1 day ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

1 day ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend