(Wired) Quantum supremacy may turn out to have an important application after all: generating pure randomness.
Randomness is crucial for almost everything we do with our computational and communications infrastructure. In particular, it’s used to encrypt data, protecting everything from mundane conversations to financial transactions to state secrets.
Genuine, verifiable randomness—think of it as the property possessed by a sequence of numbers that makes it impossible to predict the next number in the sequence—is extremely hard to come by.
“We are really excited about it,” said John Martinis, a physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who heads Google’s quantum computing efforts. “We are hoping that this is the first application of a quantum computer.”
“This might actually be kind of a big deal,” said Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist at the University of Texas, Austin, who came up with the a new protocol building a quantum circuit that puts 50 qubits, taken together, into a superposition of states that captures the distribution you’d like to re-create.. “Not because it’s the most important application of quantum computers—I think it’s far from that—rather, because it looks like probably the first application of quantum computers that will be technologically feasible to implement.”