(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese scientists have developed a quantum computer that can solve one of the most difficult problems in 200 seconds. Even the most powerful classical computer would take about 2.5 billion years to compute. The phenomenon in which a quantum computer turns out to be much more powerful than an ordinary one is called a quantum advantage.
Google first announced its quantum advantage in 2019, but its success has been criticized. Within the framework of this article, I suggest you briefly understand what a quantum computer is, what kind of problem it was able to solve and how. And does this mean that in the near future, our home computers will become thousands of times more powerful?
What is a quantum computer?
In short, classical computers use bits to store information. And in quantum computers, so-called qubits are used for this, which contain much more data. This is why it is believed that quantum computers are potentially much more powerful than classical computers. Only at the moment, scientists do not know how to control a large number of qubits, and there are only a few dozen of them in quantum computers. But in ordinary computers the amount of RAM is several gigabytes, that is, tens of billions (!) Of bits.
What is Quantum Advantage?
Quantum computers in the future may indeed replace conventional computers, but at the moment they are far from perfect. However, even with only a few qubits with them, they solve some problems thousands of times faster than even the most powerful computers. Such achievements are called quantum advantage and in 2019 Google shared such success. The quantum computer she developed, Sycamore, solved one complex problem in 3 minutes. And for the Summit supercomputer, it would take over 10,000 years. But skeptics noted that when set up correctly, the Summit computer completed the task in a matter of days. So the fact of achieving quantum supremacy by Google is still questioned.
Interesting fact: originally the term mentioned above sounded like “quantum superiority”. But then this phrase was considered politically incorrect and was replaced by “quantum advantage”.
Chinese quantum computer
In 2020, Chinese scientists tried to achieve quantum supremacy. To this end, they developed a computer designed to solve the problem of sampling bosons. In short, the system needed to calculate the passage of light particles (photons) through an optical device.
This problem was formulated several years ago, but it is simply impossible to create a mathematical formula for its solution. According to the authors of the scientific work, the TaihuLight supercomputer would take about 2.5 billion years to solve this problem. But the quantum computer completed the task in just 200 seconds.
The solution was made possible thanks to one trick. Since the problem deals with light particles, the same photons were used in the computer instead of qubits. Thus, scientists have simplified the task directly “at the iron level.” It turns out that the researchers really managed to achieve quantum superiority. But this time it was not without criticism.
The fact is that the device created for solving the problem can only be called a computer at a stretch. It uses quantum computing with qubits, but cannot be programmed. That is, at the moment such a computer cannot be used for other tasks. But the fact that the quantum advantage has been achieved is already there.
However, over time, a programmable system based on quanta will certainly be created. When that happens, technology will advance at lightning speed. For example, humanity will be able to quickly invent drugs for dangerous diseases and even learn the secrets of the universe.
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