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With Sycamore Google announces its quantum supremacy. To decree the success and the reaching of the supremacy was a math game, solved by Sycamore in only 3 minutes. The most powerful normal supercomputer will spend about 10.000 years.
Quantum Computer and the race to the supremacy
The new of the quantum supremacy of Google was announced, then denied, then announced again. When we are in the field of the quantum calculation we dance on the edge of a razor. Yes, because in reality there isn’t any certain new or concrete proof. We are in a field which is still totally unexplored and it’s hard to say how it really works.
“No one knows how it works… we aren’t really able to understand if a quantum computer really does what we think it must do at quantum level”.
What is a quantum computer? A quantum computer unlike the bits, used by the normal computers, uses the quantum bit. The quantum bit, which abbreviated are qubit, use subatomic particles which are protons and electrons, which are able to store a much higher quantity of informations. The qubit, can have at the same moment two different states, which means they can be simultaneously 0 and 1.
All of it allows a calculation speed unthinkable even for the most powerful supercomputer of the world.
It’s been years now that one talks about the quantum computer, a kind of mysterious science fiction computer. To compete to the realization of this futuristic computer we are first of all IBM. But to take the supremacy it seems to be Sycamore, the Google’s computer.
Sycamore and the experiment
Sycamore is a processor of 54 qubit, which passes for a few the quantum computer competitor of IBM, that has 53 qubit.
The experiment, publiched on Nature, involved Germany and United States and it’s been coordinated by the physicist John Martins of Google and of the University of the California in Santa Barbara. To the experiment partecipated, therefore, the NASA, the Caltech (California Institure of Technology), the University of Aachen and the research center of Julich.
The research group realized a program, a kind of math game, and they proposed it to Sycamore, which solved it in only 3 minutes and 20 seconds. In the study the researchers specified that the current most powerful supercomputer in the world, the SUMMIT of the NASA, even known as the Usain Bolt of the computers, will spend about 10.000 years to do the same calculation.
Specifically the math game wanted to demonstrate that a sequence of casual numbers is really casual. It’s a math problem extremely complicated that a traditional computer won’t never able to solve.
What’s the point of Sycamore and what does quantum supremacy mean
Can we say so to be in front of a real revolution? Surely no. The experiment of Sycamore is only the first step of a travel which is still so long. Otherwise the experiment doesn’t have a real utility.
“The problem solved by Sycamore, itself, is completely useless, or it’s better to say that it has an interest merely academic. Its importance is linked to the fact that being able to solve it demonstrates once for all that we reached the quantum supremacy. It’s the culmination of what we thought was only a dream, and that we know it is in reality possible”.
We can so say only that Google arrived first, but what’s the point of Sycamore? The real application of the quantum computer are still so far away. Once declared the quantum supremacy we need to evaluate the real advantages.
“It’s still too soon to imagine all the applications. They might be really endless, and amazing. The next steps are firstly to further improve the hardware, arriving to precisely control systems with 100 or more qubit, and then working on the development of algorithms that allow to arrive to the quantum advantage”.
This post is also available in: Italiano