With the increasing speed of computers in the present day, just how fast can a computer get? Recently in October 2019, Google announced that it had developed an entirely new type of computer. This was published in the journal Nature, where Google revealed that they had reached quantum supremacy. Their quantum computer, Sycamore was able to solve a problem in 200 seconds. By comparison, Google claimed the most powerful classical computer, IBM’s Summit would have required 10,000 years to solve the same problem. That may have been an exaggeration as IBM responded by stating that their computer would only have required two and a half days; nevertheless, it is still a remarkable achievement for a technology breakthrough.
Basically, a quantum computer can harness the laws of quantum physics instead of conventional physics that govern all our daily lives. Instead of bits, it uses qubits and this system allows it to solve complex equations faster by taking advantage of the many different possible states of qubits. On the other hand, a regular computer can only try one approach at a time, while a quantum computer can harness the unique qubits to take multiple approaches – hence solving problems faster.
The real test for quantum computers is that they can solve problems much quicker than a regular computer, which Google’s Sycamore has reportedly achieved. This new technology, once proven, holds great promise for many fields, from pharmaceuticals to code-breaking to merely increasing the efficiency of systems. It is a long-anticipated step toward useful quantum computers for the future.