China launches world’s fastest programmable quantum computers

Zuchongzhi quantum computer

The United States and China appear to be developing a rivalry over quantum computers.

As reported by the peer-reviewed journals Physical Review Letters and Science Bulletin, Chinese scientists claim to have built two quantum computers with performance speeds that rival those of their American counterparts, debuting a superconducting machine as well as an even faster one that uses light photons to achieve previously unheard-of results in the field of quantum computing.

Even though China has a history of exaggerating its own technological prowess, this latest achievement could be the real deal.

Quantum computers developed in China are still prone to errors

Jiuzhang 2 is a supercomputer that can perform calculations in a single millisecond that would take 30 trillion years on the world’s fastest ordinary computer. In an interview with the study team that aired on China’s state-run CCTV on Tuesday, the breakthrough was announced, raising doubts about the veracity of this report. Even yet, with two peer-reviewed publications to back it up, this should be taken seriously.

Chinese quantum physicist Pan Jianwei

66-qubit programmable superconducting quantum computer Zuchongzhi 2 is 10 million times faster than Google’s 55-qubit Sycamore, according to principal researcher Pan Jianwei, making it the world’s fastest machine and the first in two years to overtake Google’s.

In a nutshell, it would take the fastest supercomputer about 30 trillion years to solve a problem that “Jiuzhang 2.0” can solve in just one millisecond.

The Zuchongzhi 2 is a more advanced model of a machine that was completed three months earlier. Although it has less applications, the Jiuzhang 2, a separate quantum computer powered by light, is 100 sextillion times faster than today’s fastest conventional computers. That’s a one with a zillion zeros following it, in case you were wondering.

As impressive as these new machines may seem, they won’t be available for purchase for quite some time. For the time being, the two devices can only function in pristine conditions and for extremely narrow purposes.

And despite their best efforts, they continue to make several errors. A quantum error correcting system could take four to five years to develop, according to Professor Pan of Hefei’s University of Science and Technology of China in Anhui’s southeastern region.

Next generation of technological advancements could be powered by Chinese quantum computers

As a result of quantum error correction technology, Pan says, “we can investigate the usage of some specific quantum computers or quantum simulators to tackle some of the most significant scientific topics with practical significance.” When performing a difficult task such as random walk, the Zuchongzhi circuits must be cooled to extremely low temperatures in order to work optimally. This model mimics the tactical moves of chess pieces on the board.

This task can be used to predict stock prices, calculate gene mutations, estimate hypersonic flight airflows, and create new materials. Quantum computers will play a critical role in a wide range of critical social tasks, from defense research to scientific discoveries to the next generation of economics, as their relevance grows fast in the fourth industrial revolution.

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