Google has developed a computer that’s reached “quantum supremacy,” performing a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years, Bloomberg News reported.
The results of Google’s tests, which were conducted using a quantum chip it developed in-house at its lab in Goleta, were published Oct. 23 in the scientific journal Nature.
Google has plans to move into a larger facility with 68,000 square feet of commercial space on Hollister Avenue and announced Sept. 2 that it was launching a hardware initiative in conjunction with UC Santa Barbara to design new quantum information processors.
“This achievement is the result of years of research and the dedication of many people,” Google Director of Engineering Hartmut Neven said in a blog post. “It’s also the beginning of a new journey: figuring out how to put this technology to work. We’re working with the research community and have open-sourced tools to enable others to work alongside us to identify new applications.”
The field of quantum science examines particles in a state of entanglement or “superposition,” where they are both stable and excited at the same time. That gives rise to potential applications in computing, where a single quantum bit, or qubit, can operate as both a 1 and a 0 simultaneously in binary code, exponentially increasing processing power with each new qubit.
But quantum particles are extremely sensitive and can easily be knocked out of superposition by interference from vibrations, heat or electromagnetic energy, so much of the research focuses on extending how long they can remain entangled, called coherence.