As the first milestone in China’s efforts in technology development, the country’s scientists claim to have built a quantum computer capable of performing certain computations nearly 100 trillion times faster than the world’s most advanced supercomputer.
According to the research published in Science magazine, the scientists have developed a quantum computer prototype that successfully detects up to 76 photons through a standard simulation algorithm namely Gaussian boson sampling which is exponentially faster than existing supercomputers. Though still in its infancy, quantum computing is being seen as the solution to radically improve the processing speed and power of computers in order to enable them in simulating large systems and drive advances in chemistry, physics, and other fields. Yet another front in the US-China technology race, the Chinese researchers are competing against major US corporations like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft in getting a lead in this technology. Last year, Google reached quantum supremacy after saying that they had built a computer that could perform computations in 200 seconds which would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years. Chinese scientists claim that their new prototype is capable of processing 10 billion times faster than Google’s prototype.
The Chinese government being led by Xi Jinping is said to be building a $10 billion National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences in order to give a big push further into the field. As for the US, the Trump administration had provided $1 billion in funding for artificial intelligence and quantum information related research earlier this year.