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China makes a quantum computer streets ahead of the US

by on29 October 2021

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Physicists in China claim they've constructed two quantum computers with performance speeds that outrival competitors in the US, debuting a superconducting machine, in addition to an even speedier one that uses light photons to obtain unprecedented results.

According to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journals Physical Review Letters and Science Bulletin. Interesting Engineering reports that the supercomputer, called Jiuzhang 2, can calculate in a single millisecond a task that the fastest conventional computer in the world would take a mind-numbing 30 trillion years.

The breakthrough was revealed during an interview with the research team, which was broadcast on China's state-owned CCTV on Tuesday, which could make the news suspect. But with two peer-reviewed papers, it's important to take this seriously.

Pan Jianwei, lead researcher of the studies, said that Zuchongzhi 2, which is a 66-qubit programmable superconducting quantum computer is an incredible 10 million times faster than Google's 55-qubit Sycamore, making China's new machine the fastest in the world, and the first to beat Google's in two years.

The Zuchongzhi 2 is an improved version of a previous machine, completed three months ago. The Jiuzhang 2, a different quantum computer that runs on light, has fewer applications but can run at blinding speeds of 100 sextillion times faster than the biggest conventional computers of today. In case you missed it, that's a one with 23 zeroes behind it.

But while the features of these new machines hint at a computing revolution, they won't hit the marketplace anytime soon. As things stand, the two machines can only operate in pristine environments, and only for hyper-specific tasks. And even with special care, they still make lots of errors.

Professor Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China said that the next step involved quantum error correction with four to five years of hard work.

Last modified on 29 October 2021
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