Quantum computing: It sounds futuristic because until recently, it was. But now Google is marking a major milestone in quantum computing research that opens up new possibilities for this technology.
Unlike classical computing, which runs everything from your cell phone to a supercomputer, quantum computing is based on the properties of quantum mechanics. As a result, quantum computers could potentially solve problems that would be too difficult or even impossible for classical computers—like designing better batteries, figuring out what molecules might make effective medicines or minimizing emissions from the creation of fertilizer. They could also help improve existing advanced technologies like machine learning.
The scientific journal Nature has published the results of Google’s efforts to build a quantum computer that can perform a task no classical computer can; this is known in the field as “quantum supremacy.” In practical terms, our chip, which we call Sycamore, performed a computation in 200 seconds that would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.
This achievement is the result of years of research and the dedication of many people. It’s also the beginning of a new journey: figuring out how to put this technology to work. Google are working with the research community and have open sourced tools to enable others to work alongside us to identify new applications. Learn more about the technical details behind this milestone on the AI blog