On October 23, 2019, Google made a huge revelation – its quantum computer ‘Sycamore’ had reached Quantum Supremacy. Meaning, it can perform a calculation way faster than a regular binary computer.
In an article published in the journal Nature, Google wrote that the 53 qubits Sycamore completed a random number generation-related calculation in 200 seconds – in contrast, the world’s most powerful supercomputer IBM’s Oak Ridge Summit would take 10,000 years to calculate.
Google’s latest experiment is a critical milestone for us. It demonstrates that theoretical quantum computing designs can fully meet our expectations.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has compared this feat to when Wright brothers took off their first plane ride in 1903. He called Google’s work “a big breakthrough in quantum computing known as quantum supremacy.”
The megacorp’s biggest rival IBM isn’t quite happy with this achievement. A week before Google’s official report, IBM issued its own rebuttal, based on a leaked version of Google’s research.
IBM argues Google’s experimental quantum computer didn’t account for plentiful disk storage and other optimization methods. And so, Google’s experiment is an excellent demonstration of the progress in superconducting-based quantum computing,” IBM researchers wrote, but it shouldn’t “be viewed as proof that quantum computers are ‘supreme’ over classical computers.”
IBM also pointed out that its 53-qubit processor could actually solve the problem in two and a half days – not 10,000 years as Google had suggested. In order to do so, it would only need to commandeer the supercomputer that is large enough to fill the size of two basketball courts.