Google to Achieve "Supremacy" in Quantum Computing by the End of 2017
Google is closing in on achieving a major quantum computing milestone.
In theory, quantum computers could be vastly superior to regular or “classical” computers in performing certain kinds of tasks, but it’s been hard to build one. Already a leader in this field, Google is now testing its most powerful quantum chip yet, a 20-qubit processor, which the company looks to more than double in power to 49 qubits by the end of 2017.
Google's qubit devices are built on integrated circuits and can perform calculations using the physics of quantum mechanics. Qubits (or quantum bits) are units of quantum information that can be a mix of 0 and 1 at the same time, making them better suited than classical bits for encoding large amounts of data.
Last year, Google actually released a plan on how it will achieve what it called “quantum supremacy” - getting quantum computers to do something the classical computers cannot, like factoring very large numbers. The paper says that if the processors manage to get to 50 qubits, quantum supremacy would be possible.
One big issue for Google to resolve - figuring out how to simulate what randomly arranged quantum circuits would do. Even a small difference in input into such a system would produce extremely different outputs, requiring a great amount of computing power that doesn’t currently exist.
“They’re doing a quantum version of chaos,” is how Simon Devitt from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science in Japan described Google’s challenge. “The output is essentially random, so you have to compute everything.”
Computational difficulties aside, Google and other companies like IBM are moving along quicker than expected in their development. While they figured out the science necessary to create the qubits, the next challenges lie in scaling down their systems and reducing error rates.
The engineer Alan Ho from Google’s quantum AI lab revealed that his team’s current 20-qubit system has the error measure also known as “two-qubit fidelity” of 99.5%. The goal for the 49-qubit system would be to reach 99.7% fidelity.
It might take until 2027 until we get error-free quantum computers, according to Ho, meaning that usable devices are still some time away.
For more on how quantum computing works, check out this video:
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Junk food causes weight gain, but it's not just about the calories.
As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.
- The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
- But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
- Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
A DNA test promises to reveal your hidden history — but is it all smoke and mirrors?
Most people remember the emperor: a vain ruler, swindled into paying for a nonexistent magical garment, parades in public, only to be embarrassed by a little boy. To me, the story is really about the swindling tailors.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.