In an internal document, researchers at Google have reported demonstrating “quantum supremacy” – the ability of a quantum computer to outperform its state-of-the-art conventional cousins.
Google claims that its’ quantum computer cranked through a calculation which stumped the most powerful of today’s supercomputers.
The calculation had no practical value other than to test a computer’s ability to solve it.
If verified, Google’s accomplishment takes quantum computers a large step on their journey from implausible theory to lab to the market.
Computers process information as a series of ones and zeros. Conventional computers process ones and zeros sequentially; quantum computers can deal with ones and zeros at the same time in various ways, enabling them to yield answers far faster, and to more complex questions, than current machines can. In theory, a quantum computer could process 1,024 ones and zeros in the time it takes today’s machines to deal with a single digit.
Google’s physicists boasted their quantum computer finished in three minutes a task that would take a supercomputer 10,000 years. While that claim hasn’t been verified, it illustrates the degree of speed with which a quantum computer can act.
TRENDPOST: Quantum computers will be doing practical work in labs within a decade. But while a quantum computer armed with artificial intelligence could design new drugs in moments, including a specific formulation for a specific individual’s unique biochemistry, it also could hack through any cybersecurity firewall just as quickly. Once again, we are about to unleash a technology without being able to grasp, much less deal with, its full range of implications.