WTTW – Chicago Tonight
October 29, 2019

Google recently announced that is has achieved “quantum supremacy.” The declaration sounds ominous, but what exactly does it mean?

The phrase was first coined by theoretical physicist John Preskill in 2012 to describe the point at which a quantum computer is able to do things that are, for all practical purposes, impossible for conventional supercomputers.

Google claims that its quantum computer, called Sycamore, was able to solve a particularly tough problem involving random numbers in just 200 seconds. Google claims the world’s fastest conventional supercomputer, Summit, which is owned by IBM, would have taken 10,000 years to solve the same problem.

IBM disputes that and says that with the right tweaking its computer could have resolved the problem in about two-and-a-half days.

Nevertheless, it’s quite an upgrade.

Watch as David Awschalom, Liew Family Professor at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange, discusses Google’s quantum supremacy claim, the potential of quantum technology and the Chicago Quantum Exchange on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

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