Quantum Computer Supremacy should be something you care about.
At this point in history, they are mystical machines that seem other-worldly, almost alien and run advanced mathematics that even Einstein can’t figure out. Yet, these incredible ‘math machines’ are here, they are live, and now Google just announced the Quantum Supremacy. This basically means Google’s Quantum Computing solution can now run calculations that the most powerful ‘classical’ computers can’t. Yes, this is a very, very big deal!
What most don’t know is Quantum Computers are very specialized math machines. Meaning, they have specific uses and won’t replace your favorite laptop or high-performance desktop anytime soon. So they are not good at gaming, streaming movies, serving web pages or even doing your email. What Quantum Computers are made to do is calculate massive computations that would take a classical computer billions of years to perform. Such as factoring very large numbers (breaking encryption) or processing vast amounts of data to simulate complex biological processes. For example what would happen if we alter your genes or the long term effects of taking a specific drug. These very complex data intensive computational models are absolutely perfect for a Quantum Computer to process. So think of today’s Quantum Computers as massive data processing machines that can run complex calculations at quadrillions of calculations per second. Perhaps a better analogy is Quantum Computers are like finely tuned Formula-1 race cars. They are lightening fast, extremely finicky, require pit crews, everything is customized and are incredibly expensive to operate. Whereas, your car ‘classical computers’ are affordable, can handle daily tasks, uses off-the-shelf parts and doesn’t break your bank.
For several years there has been a quantum race between large companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, well funded upstarts like D-Wave Systems and of course the research labs of large nation states (Russia, China, USA) that have dumped billions into their Quantum Computing efforts. So for Google to announce the ‘quantum supremacy’ is a very big deal and also a tremendous feat. Much to the she-grin of the entire Quantum Computing industry and especially IBM that has tried to control the narrative for this industry for years and help further promote the IBM-Q Quantum Computer program. They are not happy Google beat them and IBM is crying foul. https://www.ft.com/content/cede11e0-dd51-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc
If you don’t believe Google here is the joint white paper it wrote alongside their partner for this experiment NASA Ames Research Center: https://www.docdroid.net/h9oBikj/quantum-supremacy-using-a-programmable-superconducting-processor.pdf?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.inverse.com%2Farticle%2F59507-full-quantum-supremacy-paper
As I have shared in previous posts, to my knowledge Google Quantum Computer Supremacy is the first, but perhaps not so fast. I believe that both China and Russia have reached the quantum supremacy too and unlike American companies that advertise everything, Russia & China are very tight lipped. All of their quantum activities fall under the control of military intelligence. So everything is under lock and key. However, thanks to China’s ego they give us clues into their capability by leaking out videos that show just how far ahead they really are in the quantum race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG5b14jIUdU&t=39s here is another video showing off China’s new quantum communication capability with a long-range satellite: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/china-s-quantum-satellite-achieves-spooky-action-record-distance What’s very clear is we have heavily underestimated both China and Russia who are years ahead of our efforts here in the United States.
So how does all this talk about Quantum Computer Supremacy impact you, your life and your future?
Well, in simple terms A LOT! Reaching the quantum supremacy means that Quantum Computers can now be controlled, used and there are now real-world applications that can be operated on these number crunching beasts. From breaking the encryption of anything in seconds to the modeling of vast amounts of data. Modeling vast amounts of data doesn’t sound like a big deal until it’s all your personal data and now a company or nation state can start ‘predicting’ your behavior based on patterns found in data. Patterns that a Quantum Computer can model. There are less creepy and intrusive uses for this technology like global weather prediction and even the modeling of your genetics to predict diseases such as cancer, etc.
For right now the biggest threat to you personally with Quantum Computer Supremacy is data security. Quantum Computers can break any encryption….period. Thankfully, my company Secured2 has the world’s first Quantum Resilient security and can ensure your protection as we move into the post quantum world.