another quantum computer more powerful than Google’s?

Two years ago, the giant Google announced that it had achieved “quantum supremacy”. The Sycamore computer then represented a giant leap forward in the world of quantum computing. And yet Chinese researchers recently announced that they have developed an even more powerful quantum computer.

More powerful than Google

A team from the University of Science and Technology in Hefei (China) claims to have created a machine that outperforms Google’s quantum computer. The researchers also provided details in a publication on the arXiv platform on June 28, 2021. However, it is currently a pre-release pending peer validation.

In 2019, Google introduced Sycamore, a computer with a 54-qubit quantum processor. The latter performed a very complex calculation in just 200 seconds. This was a problem that would have taken a typical computer about 10,000 years to solve.

In their publication, Chinese scientists mention the Zuchongzhi, a processor with 66 qubits. However, he only used 56 qubits for a simulation that would be two to three times more complex than Google’s two years ago.

quantum computers
Sycamore, the quantum processor developed by Google.
Credits: Nature

Waiting for a new demo

According to officials, the Zuchongzhi conducted the simulation in a little over an hour. However, the current most powerful supercomputer, the Fugaku from the Riken Center for Computational Science (Japan), would take at least eight years to solve the same problem. For the team, this is a victory that demonstrates China’s supremacy in scientific research. The prospects are also very interesting in quantum research, through the solution of more complex problems. However, as mentioned above, this is a pre-publication and not a publication in a reputable scientific journal. So Chinese researchers will have to demonstrate the power of their Zuchongzhi under the observation of other scientists. for validation purposes.

Finally, remember that other researchers from the University of Science and Technology in Hefei have already presented their champion: Juizhang (76 qubits). In their December 2020 publication in the journal Science, the scientists estimated that this computer’s processor is ten billion times more powerful than that of the Sycamore computer. The scientists had argued that if the two computers were not designed to perform the same kinds of tasks, the faster computing speed in Juizhang’s case could be considered the most relevant indicator of progress.