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Chinese crushed the myth of Google’s quantum supremacy. It took only 60 NVIDIA graphics cards to do this
A group of researchers from the Beijing Institute for Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has repeated Google’s experiment to demonstrate quantum superiority. The quantum system Google Sycamore took 3 minutes and 20 seconds to solve a specific problem. The new algorithm of Chinese scientists solved the same problem in 5 days only on 60 video cards from NVIDIA. Google’s quantum supremacy didn’t happen. We are waiting for a new one.
Google Sycamore Quantum System. Image source: Google
The achievement of quantum supremacy — the ability to quickly solve problems that take classical computers literally forever — Google announced in October 2021. According to the company, its Sycamore quantum system solved a problem in 200 seconds that would have taken the fastest supercomputer at the time, IBM Summit, 10,000. years. IBM disputed this claim. The company says the improved algorithm could solve Google’s quantum problem in 2.5 days. True, the company did not confirm these words with a practical experiment.
Instead of IBM, scientists from China refuted Google’s statement of quantum superiority. They developed an algorithm that on 60 NVIDIA graphics cards with V100 and A100 GPUs solved Google’s problem in about five days. Thus, by the way, Chinese researchers have shown that supercomputers are also not always the best tools, and it is not the computing power itself that is important, but the ability to use it.
At the same time, it should be noted that the search for evidence of the quantum superiority of one or another quantum platform is more sporty than applied (the Chinese also play this game). But this allows one to find the border between classical and quantum computing, because there is still no complete clarity in the applied capabilities of the latter. The Chinese, by the way, in the new five-year plan are planning to transfer the search for quantum algorithms from a theoretical plane to a practical one. Let’s see what happens.