A paper by Google’s researchers, that was briefly posted earlier this week on a Nasa website before being removed, claimed that their processor was able to perform a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that would take today’s most advanced classical computer, known as Summit, approximately 10,000 years.
Ever since Google announced that they are working on a Quantum super-computer the world has been eager to see the results of such a scientific and technological breakthrough. Last year in March, they presented the super-computer which boasted a 72-qubit computing power. Since then the word quantum computing has become very popular and nations around the world cannot wait to get their hands on this remarkable discovery. But why?
The main reasons might be the fact that quantum computing can solve issues ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) to even healthcare and drug development. But while others are only dreaming about it, Google is in the progress of making these dreams reality.
Quantum Bits instead of Ones and Zeros
Unlike the basic binary elements of classical computers, or bits, which represent either zeros or ones, quantum bits, or qubits, can represent both at the same time. By stringing together qubits, the number of states they could represent rises exponentially, making it possible to compute millions of possibilities instantly.
Quantum computers, if they can be built at scale, will harness properties that extend beyond the limits of classical physics to offer exponential gains in computing power. Experts did a test where they put Google’s super-computer and IBM‘s Summit, which is commercially known as the world’s most powerful computer, to complete a calculation. The results of this test were astonishing. While IBM’s Summit would’ve completed this task in about 10,000 years, Google’s super-computer solved the calculation in 3 minutes.
The system can only perform a single, highly technical calculation, according to the researchers, and the use of quantum machines to solve practical problems is still years away.
But the Google researchers called it “a milestone towards full-scale quantum computing”. They also predicted that the power of quantum machines would expand at a “double exponential rate”, compared to the exponential rate of Moore’s Law, which has driven advances in silicon chips in the first era of computing.
Then, with all these comes a big question: Can we put quantum computing and crypto or blockchain in the same sentence; or, will quantum computing be a potential threat to well-known encryption algorithms such as Bitcoin?