Google claims to achieve quantum hegemony, when will Chinese companies catch up?
“Quantum computer 200 seconds, can withstand the strongest over 10,000 years!” Last month, Google’s scientists posted a statement on the Internet stating that they have successfully achieved “quantum hegemony” and reached the long-awaited quantum computing technology milestone. Today, Google’s latest paper on quantum computing technology is on the cover of Nature’s 150th Anniversary Edition, officially unlocking the full picture of Google’s quantum hegemony. Google said: This is the world’s first quantum computer that can solve the processing tasks that traditional computers can’t do in a reasonable amount of time.
Hello, Quantum World: For nearly a decade, Google scientists have been working hard to create a new computer processor that can solve problems that are too difficult for the world’s best supercomputers. Now, Google announced that they have succeeded in doing this: they used a 54-qubit Sycamore quantum computer to complete a calculation in 200 seconds, and the same calculations were performed with today’s most powerful supercomputer summit, which took about 10,000 years. The draft version of the related paper was accidentally leaked on the NASA website not long ago, but it was silently deleted soon, but it still caused an uproar in the industry.
At the same time, Nature published a report saying that this achievement is a major milestone in the field of quantum computing.
Google’s proof of quantum hegemony
The working principle of quantum computers is fundamentally different from classical computers: classical bits are always in the 1 or 0 states, but qubits can be in multiple states at the same time. When qubits are closely connected, physicists can theoretically use the interference effects between their wavy quantum states to quickly complete complex tasks that classical computers take millions of years to solve.
The so-called quantum hegemony refers to the key node that quantum computers can solve the complex problems that classical (non-quantum) computers cannot solve within a reasonable time frame.
Physicists believe that quantum computers will one day carry revolutionary algorithms—such as searching for bulky database users or breaking down large amounts of data, especially encrypted database content. However, such practical applications may take decades to realize. Because the more qubits there are, the more difficult it is to maintain a stable operating state of the device. It is now widely accepted that building a general-purpose quantum computer may require at least 1 million qubits. In contrast, Google’s algorithm runs on a quantum chip with only 54 qubits, each of which consists of a superconducting loop.
In the proof, the Google research team used a quantum computer called Sycamore to try to describe the specific probability that the quantum version of the random number generator gives different results. They performed computational tasks on a loop of 53 qubits by running a series of random operations.
Specifically, the loop generates a total of 53-bit strings of 1’s and 0’s, representing a total of 253 possible combinations (only 53 qubits are used because 1 qubit on Sycamore is corrupted) Cannot be used normally). The whole process is extremely complicated, and we can’t use the first principle to predict the result, because this can be said to be a real random problem. However, due to the interference effect between the qubits, some digital strings have a higher probability of occurrence than other digital strings. This is similar to Scorpio Ning – although some points have a higher probability of occurrence than others, they are still essentially random processes. Sycamore calculates the probability distribution by sampling the loop (running a million times and recording the observed output string). This method is similar to continuous snoring to record point deviations.
Christopher Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland, College Park, points out that in a sense, the day-to-day work of this machine is very similar to that of scientists: using experiments to find answers to quantum problems that classical computers cannot solve. He also said that the special feature of this experiment is that Google’s quantum computer is not a single-use – it has programmability, so it can be flexibly applied through settings.
On the other hand, verification of results has also become a new challenge. To this end, the Google research team compared the output to a smaller, simpler version of the loop simulation results—these simulations were completed by a classic computer, including the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee. Inferred from the example, the Google team estimated that a classic computer with 1 million processing units (approximately equal to 100,000 ordinary desktops) would take about 10,000 years to simulate a complete loop, but Sycamore only needed 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
Google believes that it’s quantum hegemony arguments are rigorous and powerful. Hartmut Neven, head of Google’s quantum computing team, said that even if external researchers reduce the computational time of classical simulations, the quantum hardware itself is constantly improving. This means that for this problem, classic computers should never be able to keep up with the pace of quantum computing.
John Martinis, an experimental physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points out that although researchers can only prove this advantage in very special scenarios, they still prove to physicists that quantum mechanics solve complex problems. It does meet people’s a priori expectations that the performance of quantum computers is expected to surpass that of traditional computers.
Hello World Program
Martinis compared the experiment to the “Hello World” program in the field of quantum computing (a basic program for testing new systems by displaying the words Hello World). He said that although the experiment itself did not have much practical value, it proved that Google’s quantum hardware and software can indeed operate normally.
According to Michelle Simmons, a quantum physicist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, “It seems that Google has provided us with the first experimental evidence that quantum can indeed achieve computational acceleration in real-world systems. As far as I know, this is quantum. Hegemony has been proven for the first time and is definitely worthy of a book.”
Scott Aaronson, a theoretical computer scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, said that although Google’s chosen calculation method (ie, checking the output of a quantum random number generator) has significant limitations in practical applications, “as long as the desired results are obtained, and with advance The conjecture is exactly the same, so it has already represented a huge scientific achievement.”
Currently limited application space
According to Monroe, this achievement of Google is expected to attract more computer scientists and engineers to join the field of quantum computing, thus promoting its overall development. But he also warned that this news may also give people a false impression that quantum computers are close to large-scale practical applications. He said, “Ordinary people may think that “quantum computers have defeated classic computers. In the past two years, our homes may be quantum computers.”
In fact, scientists have not confirmed that programmable quantum computers can solve all the problems that classical computers cannot solve—such as calculating the electronic structure of a particular molecule—a very complex problem that requires modeling of multi-quantum interactions. Aaronson pointed out that another important step is to prove the authenticity of quantum hegemony in the error correction algorithm. The so-called error correction algorithm is designed to correct errors caused by noise, and the purpose is to ensure that the calculation process is accurate. Physicists believe that error correction algorithms are the fundamental prerequisite for the actual large-scale operation of quantum computers.
Google said it is working hard to achieve these two milestones and will announce relevant experimental results in the coming months.
In the future, Google engineers must make significant improvements to existing hardware to achieve the day-to-day running of such algorithms, including the development of new electronic devices to control quantum circuits and to design a new method for connecting qubits. This is also the basic direction of Google’s work on quantum computing.
Strong enemy statement: a shelling, a congratulation
Google CEO: The meaning is comparable to the invention of the aircraft
Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent 3 tweets to express his excitement. He said that he is proud of the major breakthrough in the field of quantum computing by the Google AI team, “Quantum Hegemony”. “What does quantum computing mean for the future? This excites us – it gives us another way to express the language of the universe and better understand the world, not only between 1 and 0, but in all its states: beautiful, complex and Unlimited possibilities.”
In an exclusive interview with MIT Technology Review, Pichai said that this milestone is significant for Google, and he even compared this breakthrough with the Wright brothers inventing the aircraft. He said that the first aircraft invented by the Wright brothers only flew in the air for about 12 seconds, and its design did not have any practical application in life, but it did prove that the concept of the aircraft is feasible, at this point on the quantum The calculation is no exception.
Google AI director Jeff Dean said on his own Twitter that it is a pleasure to see the Google AI Quantum Research team achieve this early milestone, which is the first step in the practical application of vector sub-computing, but also an important step.
As the biggest competitor of Google’s quantum computing research, IBM came out to shell Google for the first time, and it has been competing with Google to build the world’s most advanced quantum computer. IBM believes that Google has exaggerated its achievements. In a blog, IBM detailed the rebuttals against Google.
IBM questioned 10,000 years of the projection
IBM’s quantum computing scientists said that Google’s “quantum hegemony” is flawed. Google did not take full advantage of the computing power of modern supercomputers, which essentially manipulated the game.
In the blog, IBM said that Google’s estimate of 10,000 years is wrong. In fact, the ideal simulation of the same task can be done on a classic system in 2.5 days with much higher accuracy.
This paper has not been peer-reviewed, but if IBM is right, then the significance of Google’s quantum hegemonic milestone will be “substantiated” – meaning that Google’s achievements will “complete what the classical computer can’t do”. Shrink to “Do the same thing faster than the classic computer.”
The concept of quantum hegemony is misleading
IBM believes that the concept of “quantum hegemony” proposed by Google is misleading. The original meaning of the term “quantum supremacy” proposed by John Preskill in 2012 is to describe what quantum computers can do without classical computers. According to its strictest definition, this threshold (target) has not been achieved.
“We have enough evidence to show that the term ‘quantum hegemony’ is widely misunderstood and causes more and more confusion. We recommend that you stop using the word and hope that the community will give up using the word as soon as possible.” IBM in the blog post Written in the middle.
IBM urges the industry to look at Google’s so-called “first-time claims” from a questioning perspective, that is, the idea that quantum computers can fulfill tasks that classical computers cannot.
IBM also proposed the concept of “quantum advantage” and believed that the work of quantum computers and classical computers should be compared in a real application scenario, such as financial services, AI, and chemistry.
There is still a long way to go to achieve quantum hegemony.
IBM believes that quantum hegemony has not yet been realized, and there is still a long way to go.
In order for quantum to have a positive impact on society, the current task is to continue to build and promote a more powerful programmable quantum computing system, and the system should also be able to reuse and reliably implement various quantum demonstrations, algorithms, and programs. This is the only way to implement a practical solution on a quantum computer.
Previously, IBM has been working on commercial quantum computers with a quantum computing group in New York. Earlier this year, IBM introduced a 20-bit quantum computing system called “IBM Q System One.” In May of this year, IBM Vice President Norishige Morimoto said at the opening of the IBM Think Summit that it plans to commercialize quantum computers in the next three to five years. A month later, IBM announced a partnership with a number of African universities that will use IBM Q’s processing capabilities to research areas such as drug research and development, mining and natural resource management.
Intel: Congratulations to Google, but continue to move towards the finish line
Intel is also a strong enemy of Google’s research in quantum technology. For Google’s latest achievements, Intel’s response is much larger than IBM’s.
At present, scientific research institutions, governments, and technology companies all over the world are striving to realize commercially viable quantum computing systems. Despite the progress, the ultimate goal is still in the foreseeable future, which will be one of the marathon competitions for the commercialization of quantum computing. As a result, Rich Uhlig, vice president of Intel’s technology, systems architecture and client division, believes that the latest research on Google—an important milestone in this marathon—should be recognized, celebrated, and established.
Rich Uhlig said that while applauding this breakthrough moment, it should continue to focus on achieving the “quantum usability” toward the finish line. To achieve quantum practicality, Intel researchers used high-performance quantum simulators to predict how quantum computers can surpass supercomputers in solving optimization problems called Max-Cut. Studies have shown that at least hundreds (or even thousands) of qubits work reliably, and quantum computers can solve real-world problems faster than supercomputers.
In the past few years, Intel has made a series of progress in mass production of quantum computers: In September 2015, Intel committed $50 million to QuTech and the Dutch Applied Research Organization at the Institute of Quantum’s at Delft University of Technology; in 2018, At CES, Intel announced the construction of a 49-bit quantum superconductor chip called Tangle Lake; in March, Intel announced a quantum computer test tool that allows researchers to verify quantum chip reliability wafers and check quantum Whether the bits work properly before being built into a full quantum processor.
Current status of Chinese quantum computing
Quantum computing is a major focus of competition in the technology industry. Naturally, Chinese companies are indispensable. Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, and other well-known technology companies have already entered the game. Although they failed to form the so-called “quantum hegemony”, their achievements cannot be ignored.
Alibaba: In July 2015, Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of Alibaba, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences established a research institute in Shanghai called Alibaba’s Quantum Computing Laboratory. The lab studies quantum computing applications in a variety of fields, including artificial intelligence and e-commerce and data center security.
In February 2018, Alibaba Cloud launched a quantum computing cloud service with 11 qubits.
In May 2018, Alibaba Dharma officially launched a quantum circuit simulator called ** “Tai Zhang”. Based on Alibaba’s distributed computing platform, Taizhang successfully simulated some intermediate-scale quantum circuits as benchmarks. It is reported that Taizhang is becoming the computational engine in Alibaba’s quantum-excited classical computing system based on tensor, and will be one of the core tools for the development and application of quantum computing physics.
At the Yunqi Conference in 2018, Zhang Jianfeng, chief technology officer of Alibaba Group and president of Dharma Institute, announced that Dharma Institute has begun to develop superconducting quantum chips and quantum computing systems. This makes Alibaba the fifth largest technology company in the world to launch quantum hardware R&D projects after IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Intel.
Huawei: On October 18, 2018, Huawei released the HiQ cloud service platform for quantum computing simulators at the HC 2018 conference, including quantum computing simulators and quantum programming frameworks based on simulator development.
Based on the power of Huawei Cloud, HiQ can simulate full-amplitude above 42 qubits, with a single amplitude of 81 qubits or more, and a single amplitude for low-depth circuits can emulate 169 qubits. Huawei Quantum Computing Simulator The HiQ cloud service platform will be open to the public and become an enabling platform for research and education.
In June 2019, Huawei went one step further in the field of quantum computing. The mysterious “2012 Lab” launched the prototype of the Kunlun quantum computing simulator. Huawei believes that there is no “quantum hegemony” in the future. The actual existence should be “quantum advantage.” Huawei’s goal is to target general-purpose quantum computers. The ultimate goal is to make quantum computers.
Baidu: Baidu announced the establishment of the Institute of Quantum Computation in March 2018, which focuses on quantum information theory and quantum computing. One of Baidu’s main businesses is search engines, and searching for large amounts of data is one of the potentials of quantum computing.
On October 20, 2019, in the CNCC’s quantum computing special, Duan Runjun, director of the Quantum Computing Institute of Baidu Research Institute, introduced Baidu’s newly developed “Quantity” system.
Tencent: Tencent’s layout of quantum computing began in early 2017. Professor Ling Ge joined Tencent as the chief representative of Tencent Europe, which is considered to be the beginning of Tencent’s layout quantum computing. At the beginning of 2018, Professor Zhang Shengyu, a famous quantum theory computer scientist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, joined the Tencent Quantum Laboratory.
In 2018, Tencent proposed to use the “ABC 2.0” technology layout (AI, Robotics, Quantum Computing) to build a future-oriented infrastructure and explore the promotion of technology to serve the B-end entity industry.
Currently, Tencent applies quantum and AI technologies to the chemical research and pharmaceutical industries. Based on research on pharmaceutical companies, Tencent Quantum Lab introduces the AI model in the discovery process of small molecule drugs and uses the mathematical properties to calculate and discriminate, generate and strengthen learning machine learning models to effectively connect academic and traditional pharmaceutical companies. Traditional drug development process upgrades to improve drug development efficiency.
In addition, Tencent Quantum Lab is also exploring the establishment of the SimHub scientific computing platform to establish a scientific computing ecosystem in the cloud.
On the eve of the advent of the quantum age, the forerunners have bravely stepped out of the first step. In the future, more followers will join the wave of quantum computing. The road is long and the road is long, and with the joint efforts of countless explorers, human beings Perhaps you can feel the changes brought about by quantum computing earlier.