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4 December 2020


by Bob Yirka, Physorg

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China built and tested a photonic quantum computer that demonstrates quantum supremacy In their article published in the journal Science, the group describes their computer, which they call Jiuzhang, and its performance when sampling Gaussian bosons.

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Quantum computers have been in the news lately as scientists try to determine if they can meet expectations Quantum computers could far outperform conventional machines on certain tasks The goal is to achieve what is called now the «quantum supremacy» – where a quantum computer can outperform conventional computers on at least one type of task. Until now, only one computer has achieved this feat: Google's Sycamore device And because the domain is still so new, researchers around the world are working on very different designs Sycamore was based on qubits represented by superconducting materials In this new effort, the team in China developed a photon-based quantum computer capable of performing only one specific type of calculation: boson sampling.

Boson sampling is a way to calculate the output of a straight line optical circuit that has multiple inputs and outputs It is achieved by building a machine in which the photons are sent in a circuit in parallel, and once inside, are divided by beam splitters The divided photons continue through the circuit, encountering mirrors and other beam splitters Including, if two photons meet the same separator simultaneously, the two undivided photons will follow one of the paths away from the separator. The process is repeated, resulting in a distribution of numbers that represent the output of the network Conventional computers get bogged down very quickly when trying to calculate the distributions of such a system Jiuzhang was designed to handle 100 starters and 100 outputs using 300 beam splitters and 75 mirrors

The researchers found that it took Jiuzhang about 200 seconds to provide an answer They noted that it would have taken about 2 the world's fastest supercomputer. 5 billion years to perform the same calculations – a clear example of quantum supremacy

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Quantum computing, Quantum mechanics, quantum supremacy, computer science, China, boson sampling

News – United States – Chinese photonic quantum computer demonstrates quantum supremacy


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