(WallStreetJournal) The Wall Street Journal Google’s latest quantum-computing experiment and declaration of quantum supremacy that will help usher in a new era of next-generation computers. The WSJ advises that the business impact, however, is small.
Google officially said Wednesday that its quantum computer generated about 1 million random strings of numbers in roughly three minutes, a task that would have taken the world’s fastest conventional supercomputer 10,000 years. Scientists at International Business Machines Corp. , which is working to commercialize its own quantum computer, disagreed, saying the task could be handled by a traditional computer in 2½ days.
“It’s really good news for the field that if we make more complicated systems, everything should work,” said John Martinis, Google’s chief scientist of quantum hardware. He and several researchers spoke to about a dozen journalists about the significance of their experiment at the company’s lab 300 miles south of its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters.
Hartmut Neven, an engineering director at Google and founder and manager of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence lab—a joint initiative of the company, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Universities Space Research Association—compared the experiment to the beginning of a new computing era. “Sputnik didn’t do much either. It circled around the Earth and beeped,” Mr. Neven said. “That’s all it did, and that was the start of the Space Age.”