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Harvard Quantum Initiative’s Lukin Says Quantum Supremacy Not an Event but a Wave that is Coming

By IQT News posted 15 Nov 2019

(Harvard.edu) Harvard Quantum Initiative’s Co-Director Lukin was interviewed on ‘quantum supremacy’ and Google’s announcement of its achievement.
Lukin summarized: “Google’s achievement is quite impressive. But it points to one specific calculation and says, “We crossed the threshold.” I think, in practice, it’s not quite like that. . .. . It is also clear that 50 qubits is a sort of threshold and the system that they built is very competitive with the best systems that exist around in the world, including one here at Harvard. What they’ve done is a great example of how to test for this so-called supremacy idea. However, 50 or so qubit systems already have been used in other labs, including ours, for the past two or so years. There have been a number of experiments done with systems of that scale . .  .In this sense, I would describe what’s going on now as not a singular event but more like a wave that is coming.”
Quantum Supremacy Demonstrations Versus Useful Quantum Advantage for Applications:
Lukin contrasted the efforts at Harvard and pointed out his group’s focus on scientific applications.
“Yes, it is a demonstration experiment. However, in the domain of scientific applications, it is pretty clear that quantum computers will be very useful for simulating complex quantum systems. This is what we have focused on here at Harvard. In fact, using our system, I believe that we’ve already crossed into the domain where we have useful quantum advantage for scientific applications. . . . . . In fact, here at Harvard, in different labs, we have at least two systems which have either entered or are entering this domain [of quantum supremacy] for scientific applications. And I think it’s very significant, because these experiments are already creating value for the scientific community.”


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