Quantum Supremacy is Here

Source : Eric Lucero/Google

Most people have experienced a slow computer. Sometimes a program takes a minute to boot up or your cursor is not able to click on that button. The worst mishap is when the computer shutdowns leaving whatever work your doing unsaved. These irritate and us and bring us a few steps back. However, computers and laptops have improved every year even if we do not feel it. Becoming faster yet keeping a compact frame is an evident formula. Apple’s Macs have maintained a relatively small frame yet the specifications better every year. Not only for Apple but for Windows laptops as well.

Is there a limit to how fast our computers can become? For computers and laptops to compute and process data it uses large amounts of transistors. Fortunately, Moore’s law states that every two years the amount of transistors on microchips double every two years, but the cost halves. Silicon is the commonly used material to make these. It is also the second most abundant element on Earth - second only to Oxygen. However, even if silicon is a foundation of our electronics it is nearing the physical limit. According to the Guardian, Intel produces transistors only 14 nanometers in length which is only 14 times larger than a DNA molecule.

So with this in mind will computer progress come to a halt? No, there’s plenty of proposed alternatives - one of them is Quantum Computing. How is it different from traditional computers and laptops? Traditional computers process with ones and zeroes. Different combinations are created through this. It is similar to how our brains work. Our neurons either fire or they do not.

Quantum computers use qubits instead of bits. Qubits can be one, zero, or both simultaneously. This phenomenon is also called superpositioning where it can change from several states or be both at the same time. This way of computing is far superior to traditional computing.

Previously Google has officially announced that is has achieved Quantum Supremacy. According to Google, it’s 54-qubit Sycamore processor was able to perform a calculation that only took 200 seconds compared to the world’s most powerful supercomputer that would take 10,000 years to accomplish.

However, Quantum computers won’t be coming to our homes anytime soon. It is a big accomplishment that not only enables but gives computers the superpower to compute far more data that what we have now. However, building it is still difficult and is not yet ready to build in mass. 

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