14 Jul 2021 12:05 GMT

Zu Chongzhi was able to solve in just over an hour a task that would take about 8 years of work with the most advanced non-quantum supercomputer.

The Zu Chongzhi quantum supercomputer, developed by engineers at the China University of Science and Technology, is the most powerful in the world, according to its creators.

The device was able to solve in just over an hour a task that would take about 8 years of work from the most advanced non-quantum supercomputer.

“I’m very excited about this. What this has done is really demonstrate what we always thought we knew, but hadn’t experimentally tested: you can always beat a classic machine by adding a few more qubits,” physicist Peter told The New Scientist. Knight, not involved in the design.

Zu Chongzhi has a two-dimensional processor and 66 functional qubits – or quantum bits – that can operate simultaneously. It is capable of completing sampling tasks with a system size of up to 56 qubits and 20 cycles. According to Chinese engineers, it is “2 or 3 orders of magnitude” – that is, hundreds or thousands of times – more powerful than Sycamore, the quantum supercomputer with which Google announced its “quantum supremacy” in October 2019.

The superiority of the Chinese device would be explained not only by the higher number of qubits, but also because to manage them, Zu Chongzhi uses optical circuits to control and read the chips.

Like Sycamore, Zu Chongzhi can solve different tasks and is fully programmable. In this it differs completely from another Chinese quantum supercomputer, Jiuzhang, which is 10 billion times faster than Google’s, but performs only one task: finding solutions to the boson sampling problem. In addition, Zu Chongzhi demonstrates the scalability of the technology.

“We observed that the performance of the entire system behaves as predicted when the size of the system grows from small to large, which confirms our high-fidelity quantum operations and low correlated errors in the Zu Chongzhi processor. The quantum processor has an architecture scalable that supports surface code error correction, which can act as a test bed for fault-tolerant quantum computing “, its developers point out in a not yet peer-reviewed article that is accessible in the arXiv repository.

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