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Google presents 72-qubit quantum computer

Even if Bristlecone is theoretically more powerful than any current supercomputer, it still is not ready for real-world problem solving. (Source: Google)
Even if Bristlecone is theoretically more powerful than any current supercomputer, it still is not ready for real-world problem solving. (Source: Google)
Google is optimistic that the 72-qubit quantum computer codenamed Bristlecone will achieve "quantum supremacy" over conventional supercomputers and wil also pave the way to quantum scalability and improved error rates.

Quantum computing is supposed to be the next phase in the evolution of supercomputers. Google and IBM have been tinkering with quantum processors for the last several years in order to improve overall stability and efficiency, while keeping low error rates. Google scientists believed that a quantum computer capable of processing 49 qubits (bits that can be in either 0/1 or both states at the same time) would be able to surpass any conventional supercomputer in existence when it comes to well-defined computer science problems, thus leading to “quantum supremacy”. However, some IBM scientist further stipulated that “quantum supremacy” would only emerge with a chip that can process 56 qubits or more. Eager to prove that “quantum supremacy” is possible, Google is now experimenting with a 72-qubit chip codenamed Bristlecone that also yields low error rates.

Even though 49 or 72 might seem small numbers, current conventional supercomputers can only simulate a 46-qubit quantum computer. Since the memory requirements double every time a new qubit gets added to the equation, the amount of GB of RAM needed for conventional supercomputers to emulate a 72-qubit quantum computer would be 2^(72-46) = 67,108,864, which is impractical at this moment.

More important than the number of qubits is the processing error rate. In order for a quantum computer to prove “quantum supremacy”, the error rate needs to be in the range of less than 1%. Google claims that Bristlecone is capable of processing information with only 1% error rate for readouts, 0.1% rate for single –quantum gates and 0.6% two-qubit gates.

While Bristlecone seems ready for practical applications, Google has calculated that real-world problem solving would only be possible with quantum computers able to process hundreds of thousands to millions of qubits. Even if Moore’s Law still applies to quantum computing, we are looking at more than a decade before quantum computers could be of any real use. Meanwhile, a few thousand qubits could be used for breaking any current cryptographic algorithms.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 03 > Google presents 72-qubit quantum computer
Bogdan Solca, 2018-03- 6 (Update: 2018-03- 6)
Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - News Editor
I stepped into the wonderous IT&C world when I was around 7. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, be them from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I like to keep myself up to date with all the new technologies that get released at an ever increasing rate these days. I'm also an avid SciFi reader, an astrophysics aficionado and, as of late, a crypto geek.