(Economist) The venerable Economist weighs in on Google’s “quantum supremacy” task and calls it a milestone. Further, the Economist suggests that Google’s machine is best thought of as a “Sputnik moment’. By itself, Sputnik did nothing but orbit Earth while beeping. But it proved a concept, and grabbed the world’s attention.
Google’s accomplishment is one in the eye for quantum-computing skeptics. It strongly suggests the promise of quantum technology can be realized in practice as well as theory. And it will draw even more money and attention to a red-hot field. A great deal of engineering work remains before quantum computers can be used for real-world tasks. But that day has suddenly got closer.
Google’s machine is a special-purpose device that was designed to solve a contrived problem with few practical uses. It appears to have performed, in just over three minutes, a task that, the researchers estimate, the world’s most powerful classical supercomputer would take around 10,000 years to complete.