June 2, 2023


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Quantum computers outsmart supercomputers.  Recent experience clearly confirms this

Quantum computers outsmart supercomputers. Recent experience clearly confirms this

The quantum computer built by startup Xanadu is capable of executing simulations in tens of milliseconds. It would take high-tech computers about 9,000 years to repeat this feat.

The integrated circuit used in this case introduces the photons to a specific quantum state. Then the photons interact in such a way that they become entangled. Through these interactions, qubits or qubits can be used to perform calculations.

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Photons can be sorted based on their state. Their number in each state provides answers to selected accounts. Since photons can only interact in pairs, adding another photon leads to the need to take into account a sufficient number of hardware functions to make interactions possible. In practice, this means that scaling the processor to a larger number of qubits is associated with scaling the entire device.

While this is not a huge problem nowadays, difficulties may arise when processors are counted not in the hundreds but in the thousands. No wonder then that the Xanadu kid known as Borealis needed major architectural changes. The previous version used a beam of identical photons that entered the system in parallel and traveled through it simultaneously. In this case, the photons sequentially enter the system and follow a different path.

The effect of the mod is impressive to say the least. These include using more than 200 qubits or the ability to run advanced simulations. Using a supercomputer would take 9,000 years, and Borealis is able to do the same thing in a few tens of a thousandth of a second. Details about this are available on the pages temper nature. What can we discover?

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The scientists decided to make a so-called Gaussian boson sampling, which uses photons to estimate the number that will eventually reach the detector. More advanced computers cannot meet this challenge, but quantum machines must do so more efficiently. At least in theory. In the course of previous experiments, it was necessary to use from 76 to 113 photons. In this case, their number increased to 219, with an average of 125. The quantum computer took 36 milliseconds to achieve the goals, and the presented data turned out to be correct.