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It took 3 minutes to do a calculation that takes 10,000 years

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 24 oct. 2019 7:40 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 31 ago. 2020 6:49 ]
A quantum computer owned by Google AI Quantum in California, in the United States, managed to process information 1.5 trillion faster than a current supercomputer.
Part of the structure of Google AI Quantum's quantum computer.
For the first time in history, a quantum computer solved a problem that, for all practical purposes, a traditional computer cannot, researchers reported in the journal Nature on October, 2019.

“A computation that would take 10,000 years on a classical supercomputer took 200 seconds on our quantum computer,” study co-author Brooks Foxen, a graduate student researcher in physics at Google AI Quantum in Mountain View and the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a statement.

Quantum computers store information using subatomic particles, which behave according to very different rules than the ones that govern our macro world. For example, quantum particles can exist in a “superposition” of two different states at the same time, and particles can be separated by light-years yet still be “entangled,” affecting each others’ properties.

More storage capacity

This weirdness is key to the incredible potential power of quantum computing. Because of the superposition phenomenon, quantum computers can store and manipulate far more information per unit volume than can traditional computers, which encode information in a binary way using 0s and 1s. The basic unit of information in a quantum-computing system, by the way, is known as a qubit, which is short for “quantum bit.”

“It is likely that the classical simulation time, currently estimated at 10,000 years, will be reduced by improved classical hardware and algorithms, but, since we are currently 1.5 trillion times faster, we feel comfortable laying claim to this achievement,” Foxen added.

For the study, the team led by Google AI Quantum’s Frank Arute used a quantum computer called Sycamore, which featured 53 functional qubits, plus one that didn't work properly.

The scientists entangled those 53 qubits into a complex superposition state, then had Sycamore perform a task akin to random-number generation. The results were then compared with simulations run on the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
 
10 thousand years

According to Foxen, Sycamore finished in about 3.5 minutes, and the Summit work suggested that even the most powerful traditional supercomputer would have to chew on the problem for about 10,000 years.

“This demonstration of quantum supremacy over today’s leading classical algorithms on the world’s fastest supercomputers is truly a remarkable achievement and a milestone for quantum computing,” William Oliver, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in an accompanying “News and Views” piece in the same issue of Nature.  

“It experimentally suggests that quantum computers represent a model of computing that is fundamentally different from that of classical computers” Oliver added.

Oliver also stressed, however, that considerable work still needs to be done before quantum computers can become an important part of our everyday lives. For example, he wrote, researchers will have to develop new algorithms that can work with the error-prone quantum processors that will be available in the near future.

And, to make the technology commercially viable over the long haul, scientists will have to devise robust protocols for correcting quantum errors.

Source: space.com
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