(ZDNet) Supremacy is a trait you expect will endure in the real world. If any one machine is declared supreme above all others in its class, businesses expect this supremacy to be sustained. In this world, one machine’s momentary performance advantage over another, especially when it’s briefer than a product cycle, doesn’t count as supremacy.
In a now-famous announcement, a team of researchers from Google, NASA’s Ames Research Center, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced, “Our experiment achieves quantum supremacy, a milestone on the path to full-scale quantum computing.”
IBM immediately followed up with a rebuttal to Google’s claim, shining light on a heretofore unseen supercomputing project,
This article and interview discusses Google’s claim and IBM’s rebuttal. A tutuorial on quantum computers is included to guide readers through the discussion.
Background and History of Quantum Supremacy
IBM praised the numerator in Google’s supremacy equation, but attacked the legitimacy of the denominator. In his definition of quantum supremacy, Preskill said nothing about the classical supercomputer having to emulate, simulate, or otherwise pretend to be, a quantum circuit.
“The way the Google team has approached it,” said Oak Ridge’s Humble, “is to show that a quantum device could actually behave in a way that no classical computer could ever anticipate.” As a result, he believes, Google may be prompting scientists and engineers in this field to re-evaluate both the meaning and the efficacy of supremacy.
Humble’s position gives him a unique perspective on both projects, working in separate collaboration with both Google and IBM.
For quantum computing to be a contributor to the global economy, quantum supremacy will need to be a value proposition that lasts at least as long as one cycle of its marketing campaign. If a classical supercomputing competitor is capable of converting that supremacy claim to a mere advantage in a matter of weeks, then any justification a quantum system provider may have made for its premium service price, will decohere faster.
See from IQT: