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Google's New Chip Is a Stepping Stone to Quantum Computing Supremacy


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Google says its quantum chip is a test bed for ideas the company says can make the technology practical.

A Google research group is working on building powerful computer chips that manipulate data using the quirks of quantum physics.

Credit: Google

A team of Google researchers by the end of this year plans to build a device that achieves "quantum supremacy," meaning it can perform a particular calculation that is beyond the reach of any conventional computer.

The 25-member team already has made a new quantum chip that tests out key design features needed to make a device for a head-to-head contest between Google's chip and one of the world's largest supercomputers.

The quantum chip has nine qubits arranged in a line, but the team will need a grid of 49 qubits for the quantum supremacy experiment, says Google researcher John Martinis.

Designs for devices with up to 50 qubits already are in progress, but the team has yet to formally disclose the technical details.

Although much work still needs to be done, Martinis says the experiment could become a benchmark for others claiming to have a working quantum computer.

From Technology Review
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