IBM Puts A Damper On Google’s “Quantum Supremacy” Claim

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Google said its quantum processor made a calculation in minutes that would take thousands of years. IBM said hold up.

IBM pushed back against Google’s recent claim that its experimental quantum processor had achieved “quantum supremacy,” which means its machine completed a calculation that a traditional supercomputer could not complete in its lifetime.

NBC News reported that Google’s findings were published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, showing that "quantum speedup is achievable in a real-world system and is not precluded by any hidden physical laws.”

But IBM took issue specifically with Google’s claim about quantum supremacy, after a version of the paper was leaked online last month. The paper said the company’s “quantum processor, Sycamore, finished a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds — and that it would take the world's fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to do the same thing.”

According to IBM, its own supercomputer, Summit, could perform the calculation in 2.5 days.

NBC noted that outside the realm of quantum computing competitors, the issue is largely irrelevant. Google’s achievement means the field is maturing, and we are one step closer to useful applications for quantum computing.

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