Current Events: Quantum Supremacy

My son has been following the development of quantum computers because of his interest in cryptography. He was excited this morning at the confirmation of earlier rumors that Google has “achieved quantum supremacy.” Sounds like something out of a sci-fi super hero movie to me, but it is a real thing.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03213-z

Reminds me of this comic,

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I read the article and still can’t understand quantum computers.

For me the goal is more awareness of their existence than comprehension of how they work. I can let my son lose on you to talk about qubits and binary if you’d like. :slight_smile: It has something to do with qubits not just holding ones and zeros but “superpositions” of zero and one and “entangled states” which has something to do with quantum physics. I’m not a very good student of it, but it’s been explained to me a few times.

I can understand tiny little electric wires sending binary signals. When I hear about qubits and entangled states, all that comes to mind is uncertainty and instability. How does one code for that? Maybe @Chris_Falter can help.

I read an article on the BBC about this earlier.

It sounds like proper sci-fi stuff! I am both in awe of the achievement and utterly terrified of an AI apocalypse all at the same time.

Let the record show that this meatbag welcomes our new qubit-based overloads… :robot:

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One of the key use cases for quantum computing is the generation of true random numbers. I suspect that the Google team transcribed the state of the 53 entangled particles in rapid succession to achieve the result, but I would have to read the paper to verify that. It will take me a while to get to it.

I imagine that biologists would be interested in using quantum computing for their models which make use of random numbers. Currently they have to use pseudo-randoms, which is probably okay but not rigorously correct.

Quantum computing also has important applications in secure communications and encryption tasks. I doubt we’ll be using quantum computing to host forum servers, though.

Anything else, and I will betray my poor knowledge of the domain. So I’ll stop talking now.

Have a great day everyone!

Chris

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