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What Google is doing with the machine everyone is talking about this week






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What is a quantum computer or how does a quantum computer differ from a "normal" computer?

To make it easier to understand the potential it carries quantum computingFirst of all we have to understand how classical computers or how classic microprocessors work, the components that perform computing operations on modern computers. The faster the processor, the faster (usually) the computer works.




This is the average computer microprocessor.


This is the average computer microprocessor.
Photo by Thinkstock

The smallest unit that records information that is understood at the most fundamental level by the microprocessor is a little. A bit can occupy two states – it can be 0 or 1. The status of one bit is determined by a binary transistor, a small electrical switch. The longer you have a microprocessor transistor, the faster you can do computational operations.




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The number of transistors in a computer microprocessor is currently measured in billions. Transistors are smaller with almost every generation of processors. Seven nanometers, as measured by transistors in the latest processors, are a thousand times smaller than the diameter of red blood cells, for example. This means that the size of modern transistors is closer to the atom, measuring an average of 0.1 to 0.5 nanometers. Atom also represents the physical limit of the size of the transistor that can be reduced.




Super computers focus problems with the fact that the lowest possible size of a transistor is limited, they solve the problem by adding a new processor. The fastest supercomputers in the world have millions of them.


Super computers focus problems with the fact that the lowest possible size of a transistor is limited, they solve the problem by adding a new processor. The fastest supercomputers in the world have millions of them.
Photo by Reuters




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The fact that transistors will not be able to shrink indefinitely is a long-term problem for classical microprocessors, because recording binary information, which stores one information in one bit, will always limit it.

What if you could store more information in one bit? This is possible if the basis for computer operation is not the logic of transistor transitions between zero and being quantum superposition, one of the most important principles of a complex branch of physics called quantum mechanics.




One of the most well-known illustrations of quantum superposition is the Schrödinger cat thought experiment, named after Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. He suggested (purely hypothetical, of course) that he put the cat in a box along with a deadly source of radioactive radiation. The cat will then be in quantum superposition: at the same time, it can die and live, because it will not know exactly what it is until it opens the box and sees it.


One of the most well-known illustrations of quantum superposition is the Schrödinger cat thought experiment, named after Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. He suggested (purely hypothetical, of course) that he put the cat in a box along with a deadly source of radioactive radiation. The cat will then be in quantum superposition: at the same time, it can die and live, because it will not know exactly what it is until it opens the box and sees it.
Photo by Thinkstock




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For quantum computers, the classic transistor for recording information replaces the so-called qubits or quantum bits.

The main feature of qubits is that it can be caused by the principle of quantum superposition in two different countries simultaneously. This is a very simplified meaning in qubits 0 and 1 they exist simultaneously, until we see it, while transistors can always only be 0 at the same time on a classical computer or 1

The consequence of this principle is that we can store two pieces of information in a qubit, which means that the power of quantum computer computing does not increase linearly as is the case with classical computers, exponentially, because, if assembled correctly, it can perform computational operations on all qubits simultaneously.




One of the computer components of Google Quantum Sycamore


One of the computer components of Google Quantum Sycamore
Photo by Reuters

A quantum computer with a few hundred cubic meters must leave the most powerful supercomputer currently far behind, right? Something very similar has been praised by Google this week, but that does not mean that quantum computers will soon become a part of our daily lives.




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What works Google Quantum Computers?

Google's Sycamore 54-liter quantum computer, which 53 functions well, solves the computing problem that the fastest supercomputer in the world will solve for ten thousand years, in three minutes and twenty seconds, this week. with research, published in the famous scientific publication Nature, praised by Google computer engineers.




This is a multi-layered space that holds Google's Sycamore quantum computer. The temperature decreases with each layer and finally reaches only 15 millikelvin in the core, which is practically absolute zero (0 kelvin or minus 273,315 degrees Celsius), the lowest possible temperature. As cold as in the Sycamore computer room, there might not be anywhere else in space.


This is a multi-layered space that holds Google's Sycamore quantum computer. The temperature decreases with each layer and finally reaches only 15 millikelvin in the core, which is practically absolute zero (0 kelvin or minus 273,315 degrees Celsius), the lowest possible temperature. As cold as in the Sycamore computer room, there might not be anywhere else in space.
Photo: Google

Google says Sycamore has achieved what is called quantum supremacy, which is the absolute advantage of quantum computers rather than classical computers, which, according to Google, will take unrealistically long time to solve the same problem.

One of its biggest rivals in the field of quantum computing, IBM, whose Google supercomputer summit is comparing Google with 54-liter Sycamore, has tried to soften Google's pride. IBM Claimthat Google did not achieve true quantum superiority because it did not take into account all factors, and that Sycamore could solve computing problems in two and a half days, but not in ten thousand years.

They don't care about Google, and prefer the applause they receive from almost every part of the world, including Slovenia, for the Sycamore achievement.




The microchip core of Google's Sycamore quantum computer is very similar to the computer processor we know today.


The microchip core of Google's Sycamore quantum computer is very similar to the computer processor we know today.
Photo: Google

Prof. dr. dr. Borut Robic, Head of Theoretical Computer Science at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science at Ljubljana University, told Siol.net that the acceleration achieved by Sycamore was very impressive and satisfying because it showed success in developing real quantum computers.

"Google's achievements are seen as a success that greatly encourages research in quantum computing. The real power of Sycamore or the solutions used to build it will be demonstrated by further tests to solve other problems," Robic noted that he was a computational problem solved by specially selected Google computers. for her.




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Does that mean we will all be using quantum computers soon?

It's not that simple, because quantum computers are primarily designed to sort nodes that have been supported by them, called quantum algorithms (they allow solving certain computational problems in steps that are less than classical computers), but are ignored by ordinary computer tasks completed in seconds.




The development of quantum computers is intensive, but it is also very challenging because of many obstacles. Borut Robic, among others, highlights what is called quantum decoherence or the influence of the environment on the persistence of data in a quantum computer. The quantum process can be disturbed by the smallest factor, which makes it work in a specially adapted environment that is cooled to temperatures near absolute zero.


The development of quantum computers is intensive, but it is also very challenging because of many obstacles. Borut Robic, among others, highlights what is called quantum decoherence or the influence of the environment on the persistence of data in a quantum computer. The quantum process can be disturbed by the smallest factor, which makes it work in a specially adapted environment that is cooled to temperatures near absolute zero.
Photo by Reuters

How much is one plus one, it might be more practical to ask classics than quantum computers. We prefer to use this to solve problems whose nature allows the search for simultaneous and parallel solutions, Robic explained.

There is a problem? Quantum computing can provide concrete acceleration in the field with the appropriate algorithm cryptography, i.e., data encryption, because it has the potential to produce a random number sequence, web search, machine learning and artificial intelligence, squeeze (compression) data, development of new drugs.

As Borut Robic said to Siol.net, the latest achievements of Google Sycamore computers have, in particular, opened the forefront of quantum computers. Together with Google and IBM, we discovered many global technologies and other economic giants, including Intel, Baidu, Hewlett-Packard, Alibaba and Lockheed Martin.

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