A group of Chinese researchers has set a new quantum computing record. They claim their new computer is more powerful than any other, including the best efforts by Google.
The researchers claim that their quantum computer was capable of solving a problem using 56 of its 66 qubits. This quantum equivalent to conventional computers is described in arXiv's preprint.
This is a significant improvement over Google's Sycamore processor which has only 54 qubits. Google claimed that its 2019 computer achieved quantum supremacy, which is the threshold above which quantum computers can solve problems that are beyond the reach of classical computers.
Google claimed that its computer could solve a problem in 3.5 minutes. This is something that would have taken the most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years.
The Chinese team did not go as far with its new paper.
According to the paper, we estimate that Zuchongzhi will complete the sampling task in 1.2 hours (or 70 minutes) and it will require the most powerful supercomputer for at least eighteen years. This task's classical simulation is expected to cost 2-3 orders of magnitude more than previous work on the Sycamore processor with 53-qubits.
According to researchers, the problem that the computer was trying to solve was 100 times more complex than that solved by Googles Sycamore.
Although it is a strong hint at what quantum computers might soon be able to do, their success should be taken with a grain. This paper is not yet peer-reviewed.
As has been the case with most quantum computers, their use cases are extremely specialized. They won't replace their binary predecessors anytime soon.
The Zuchongzhi team system is a two-dimensional, programmable computer capable of manipulating up to 66 qubits. It can also encode quantum information, which is the quantum state of one electron across 66 quantum bits.
A team consisting of many of the same people demonstrated last year a quantum computer that contained 76 photonic qubits. These qubits store information about photon charge states. Cosmos Magazine pointed out that the computer was not programmeable like Zuchongzhi. It was therefore hardwired to perform the target calculation.
What was the problem Zuchongzhi solved then? Cosmos stated that the computer measured the output distribution of random quantum loops. This is a complex problem that classical supercomputers have not been able to solve. It is a benchmark for the current generation of quantum computers.
Although the practicality of these calculations is still not fully understood for real-world use, scientists were impressed with the results.
This is very exciting, Peter Knight, Imperial College London, said to New Scientist. This has shown what we've known all along, but never had the opportunity to prove experimentally: that a classical machine can be beat by adding a few qubits.
READ MORE: China wins the title of world's most powerful quantum computer [New Scientist]
Microsoft Retracts Paper Claiming Quantum Computing Breakthrough
Futurism readers are invited to join the Singularity Global Community. This is our parent company's forum for futuristic science and technology discussions with other like-minded people around the globe. Sign up today to get started!