Chinese researchers have demonstrated what they claim to be the most powerful quantum computer in the world. To prove how fast the supercomputer is , the researchers completed a convoluted calculation that would take a typical supercomputer about eight years to complete in little over an hour.
The Zuchongzhi quantum computer is a 66-qubit machine, reports ZME Science. For comparison, Google’s Sycamore chip features 53 qubits, whereas IBM’s Q System One chip packs 20 qubits. Packing qubits into chips and creating quantum mechanical superposition effect is not easy, but ensuring that they work correctly (without an error) is even harder. To that end, 66 qubits is an achievement. Furthermore, adding several qubits to a quantum CPU exponentially increases its performance
Quantum computer chips have to be cooled down to 273.15ºC and this temperature has to be maintained, which makes it even harder to build quantum computers and use them. As a result, right now quantum computers are mostly used for experiments with high-performance computing by researchers and high-tech giants.
The new Zuchongzhi processor is more versatile than its predecessor, the Jiuzhang quantum chip. Firstly, it is more programmable. Secondly, it is significantly more powerful. The researchers made the new quantum processor to perform a random quantum circuit sampling task, which it did in 1.2 hours. The same task will take an unreasonable amount of time to complete on a classic supercomputer.
Google’s Sycamore quantum computing processor with 53 qubits (pictured) is believed to be the first to achieve the so-called quantum supremacy, a term used to describe a quantum chip that can solve a task that no typical supercomputer can process in any reasonable amount of time. Google’s Sycamore was followed by a 53-qubit Jiuzhang. This processor performed a complex job in 200 seconds. The same task would have taken the TaihuLight supercomputer around 2.5 billion years to complete.