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June 12, 2021
Google released an article in Nature Wednesday claiming they have created a Quantum Computer called Sycamore that can solve a problem that would take a classical computer ten thousand years in just two hundred seconds. Sycamore uses quantum bits, or qubits, which allows for the computer to be in multiple states of 1 or 0 at once. In a classical computer, the computer is in one state, either a 1 or a 0, but in the quantum computer, this restriction no longer applies. Sycamore has fifty-three qubits that can all run at the same time allowing for it to process information significantly faster. ~
To prove the speed of their computer, Google tested Sycamore through an experiment in which it generated a fifty-three digit number consisting of 1’s and 0’s. In their experiment, Google found that some numbers often were chosen more likely than others which put into question whether or not the computer was actually selecting at random. But Google claims that is due to the interference of the qubits, claiming that the number is still random even if some have a higher probability than others of being chosen. Google ran this experiment a million times to test the random number generator and was able to do so in just two hundred seconds. When compared to the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the Tennessee supercomputer was estimated to be able to complete the same task in ten thousand years. ~
This discovery opens up the world of quantum computers. Christopher Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park, says, “Google’s computer is not single-purpose, but programmable, and could be applied to a quantum circuit with any settings.” This implies that Sycamore could eventually be able to be programmed to help scientists in the lab. Monroe says the applications of the quantum computer are quite limited at this point but there is potential. Monroe believes the Quantum Computer will not be entering the home any time soon but John Martinis, an experimental physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Google in Mountain View, California, believes the architecture of Sycamore is the future of quantum computers. ~
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