A powerhouse team led by researchers from Google, NASA, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is officially claiming to have achieved the technological milestone of quantum supremacy.
In a new paper released this week, the scientists explain how they developed a quantum processor that could perform a complex computational task in a little over 3 minutes. By contrast, a state-of-the-art classical supercomputer would need about 10,000 years to run the same numbers.
That massive gap in time, in a nutshell, represents something that physicists and computer scientists have long predicted: the threshold where quantum computers become able to solve problems that traditional binary computers (even massively powerful ones) simply cannot, in practical terms.
“This experiment establishes that today’s quantum computers can outperform the best conventional computing for a synthetic benchmark,” says Travis Humble, the director of Oak Ridge’s Quantum Computing Institute.