October 16, 2021

Chinese researchers report breakthrough in quantum computing

Chinese scientists say they have developed a quantum computer that can perform certain calculations almost 100 trillion times faster than the currently most advanced supercomputer. According to Bloomberg , it marks the country’s first milestone in developing its own quantum computing technology.

Accordingly, the state news agency Xinhua reported that the new prototype of a A quantum computer called Jiuzhang is able to recognize up to 76 photons. The average power of the system is 43 photons. The calculation was based on a standard simulation algorithm called Gaussian Boson Sampling (GBS). The Jiuzhang system is now said to be able to implement GBS 100 trillion times faster than the fastest supercomputer available. It is also said to be 10 billion times faster than Google’s 53 qubit quantum computer developed .

The study by the Chinese researchers shows that the system has cleared an important hurdle. “If the capacity of a new quantum computer prototype exceeds that of the most powerful traditional computer in accomplishing a certain task, it means that it will possibly achieve breakthroughs in numerous other areas,” CGTN quoted the scientist Lu Chaoyang, professor at the University of Technology and Science of China.

The researchers working with quantum physicist Pan Jianwei achieved the breakthrough after around 20 years. According to the report, they had to overcome numerous hurdles during that time, including finding a high-quality photon source. “For example, it is easy for us to take a sip of water each time, but it is difficult for us to only drink one water molecule each time,” said Pan. “A high quality photon source only needs to ‘release’ one photon each time, and each photon has to be exactly the same, which is quite a challenge.”

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So far, the Jiuzhang system has only been superior in one area, the researchers admitted. But it also has the potential for top performance in other areas such as machine learning and quantum chemistry, according to the research team.

There is always a dispute over the “supremacy” in the field of quantum computing . Two years ago, Google reported that its new Sycamore processor had performed a test calculation in 200 seconds, which would take the most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. However, IBM claimed to run this simulation on a classic system in just 2.5 days, and with a higher accuracy than Google.