Inside Quantum Technology

Industry Reaction to Claim of Quantum Supremacy by Google

(TechRepublic) On September 20, the Financial Times reported that a Google research paper temporarily posted online said Google’s quantum computer has reached “quantum supremacy,” a threshold at which quantum computers are theorized to be capable of solving problems, which traditional computers would not (practically) be able to solve. The specific computation in question is at present unclear, though if Google has truly reached quantum supremacy, this would necessarily be a milestone worthy of celebration. Instead, Google quietly removed the research paper.
Industry reaction to the news has largely been sceptical, as expectations that Google’s advancement is either overblown, or not applicable to practical business use of quantum computers.
“The experiment and the ‘supremacy’ term will be misunderstood by nearly all,” said Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, in a written statement. “Quantum computers are not ‘supreme’ against classical computers because of a laboratory experiment designed to essentially (and almost certainly exclusively) implement one very specific quantum sampling procedure with no practical applications. In fact, quantum computers will never reign ‘supreme’ over classical computers, but will rather work in concert with them, since each have their unique strengths.”
Intel’s reaction to the news was moderately warmer. “Google’s recent update on the achievement of quantum supremacy is a notable mile marker as we continue to advance the potential of quantum computing. . . And while development is still at mile one of the marathon, we strongly believe in the potential of this technology.”

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