One critical area of innovation is in quantum information technologies. Late last month, Google announced it achieved Quantum Supremacy in computing. A team led by John Martinis from Google and the University of California, Santa Barbara, used a 53 qubit quantum computer to solve a mathematical problem in just three minutes that would take the fastest current computer 10,000 years to calculate. This small, profound step is the tip of the spear for a new technology.
The United States cannot allow others to beat us in this crucial technological race. Quantum computing, with its promise of harnessing the strange properties of the subatomic world to accelerate computing, is one potential alternative to the current computing technology that has sustained progress for decades. For decades, much of the economy in the United States and around the world has been driven by the invisible hand of Moore’s law. It simply states that the power of computer microprocessors will double every two years while they get smaller and costs are cut in half.
The fact is, quantum supremacy -- a term that is burning down the Internet today -- is really just an exceedingly fancy way of saying a super-duper kind of computer, one that not only operates on quantum principles, but masters them so deftly that it actually outperforms a traditional computer. (That’s where the “supremacy” part comes from.)
The paper outlining the work, published in the journal Nature this morning, comes a month after a draft was unintentionally posted on a NASA server. It demonstrates that a quantum processor consisting of 54 superconducting quantum bits, or qubits, was able to perform a random sampling calculation - essentially verifying that a set of numbers is randomly distributed - exponentially faster than any standard computer.
Quantum computing is now ready to go – or is it? Google appears to have reached an impressive milestone known as quantum supremacy, where a quantum computer is able to perform a calculation that is practically impossible for a classical one. But there are plenty of hurdles left to jump over before the technology hits the big time.
This could be the dawn of a new era in computing. Google has claimed that its quantum computer performed a calculation that would be practically impossible for even the best supercomputer - in other words, it has attained quantum supremacy. If true, it is big news.
President Trump signed an executive order to launch the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee late Friday. The committee will be made up of the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (or a designee chosen by the director) and “not more than” 22 experts chosen by the secretary of Energy. These members can represent industry, research institutions and other federal agencies.
Earlier this month, the Pentagon announced that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper would review the JEDI deal after President Donald Trump said that he had received complaints from companies about the process. Trump said in July that companies conveyed that the specifications of the contract favored Amazon, according to Bloomberg.
At Semicon West 2019, a panel of industry experts kicked off a debate on whether Moore’s Law -- the great prediction given to us by Gordon Moore, which declared that the number of components per integrated circuit would regularly double over a predictable period of time (originally 12 months, later expanded to 24 months) -- was still alive. Over the last decade, discussions of whether Moore’s Law was sustainable in the long term or had already died and been replaced by other methods of scaling have become more common.
“Huge amounts of capital and talent are going to be thrown at building self-reliance and establishing a kind of parallel ecosystem here without dependence on U.S. chips, operating systems,” said Ben Harburg, managing partner of MSA Capital, a Beijing-based venture capital firm. “The rationale is that this moment created demand. Previously, it didn’t have demand for those Chinese chips...