Ideas

Big Data: A big milestone in quantum computing?

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200 seconds

That’s the number of seconds Google says it took for its quantum computer to complete a complex task — one that the company says would take the most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years to finish. In an article published in the journal Nature, Google says it’s achieved “quantum supremacy,” meaning its processor can solve a problem that classical supercomputers can’t.

But Google’s quantum competitor IBM wasn’t having it. “We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity,” the company said.

Despite the debate over whether quantum supremacy has been acheived, scientists and competitors are saying that quantum computers are coming closer to reality.

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According to the New York Times, “a quantum machine could one day drive big advances in areas like artificial intelligence and make even the most powerful supercomputers look like toys.”

Sean Smyth can be reached at sean.smyth@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @smythsays.