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Let's Explore Some of the Strange, Complex Elements of Quantum Computing

Let's Explore Some of the Strange, Complex Elements of Quantum Computing

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 24 October 2019



Schrödinger's Cat Says Quantum WHAT?
Schrödinger's cat not excited about quantum superposition, geralt, Pixabay.
Cool Quantum Cats not down with Schrödinger's quantum superposition. More. By geralt, Pixabay.


Let's Explore Some of the Strange, Complex Elements of Quantum Computing

Achieving Quantum Supremacy,
University of California - Santa Barbara, October 23, 2019.


The Sycamore Quantum Computer
"...with Sycamore, 54 qubits (one didn’t perform) that take advantage of the both awe-inspiring and bizarre properties of quantum mechanics."

Quantum Supremacy
"...to perform an algorithm or computation that couldn’t be done otherwise."

"Using 53 entangled quantum bits (“qubits”), their Sycamore computer has taken on — and solved — a problem considered intractable for classical computers."

“A computation that would take 10,000 years on a classical supercomputer took 200 seconds on our quantum computer.”

"...since we are currently 1.5 trillion times faster, we feel comfortable laying claim to this achievement."

The Test Problem
"...we settled on a sequence of operations that produced a complicated superposition state that, when measured, returned output ("bitstring") with a probability determined by the specific sequence of operations used to prepare that particular superposition." (more below)

"...the researchers used a method called cross-entropy benchmarking to compare the quantum circuit’s bitstring to its “corresponding ideal probability computed via simulation on a classical computer” to ascertain that the quantum computer was working correctly."
(proof below)

All Possible Solutions
"The exercise...sampled the quantum circuit a million times in just a few minutes, exploring all possibilities — before the system could lose its quantum coherence."

“We performed a fixed set of operations that entangles 53 qubits into a complex superposition state.”

“This superposition state encodes the probability distribution."

Reading the States
"...sample from this distribution by measuring the qubits a million times in 200 seconds.”

"...sampled the quantum circuit a million times in just a few minutes, exploring all possibilities — before the system could lose its quantum coherence."

Practical Result
"...the research has resulted in a very real and valuable tool: a certified random number generator."


More Information


Google and NASA Achieve Quantum Supremacy,
NASA, October 23, 2019.


Modern Magic
"...the mathematics behind how quantum mechanics operates is well understood and consistent, even if we don’t understand why."

"...quantum superposition allows a single qubit – a unit of data in a quantum computer – to exist as various quantities at the same time."

"Quantum entanglement is another property that inseparably connects two particles, regardless of distance, providing correlations impossible to find in the world of classical mechanics."

"Quantum computers can use these correlations to store, transfer and compute information in ways impossible on traditional computers."

"The test itself involved running random quantum circuits on quantum processors as well as traditional supercomputers."

"Both the quantum processor and supercomputer were given increasingly complex and random circuits to compute until the supercomputer wasn’t able to process them. To find that limit, researchers at Ames advanced techniques for simulating these random quantum circuit computations using NASA’s supercomputing facilities. At a certain point, even with all the tricks NASA’s quantum computing and supercomputing experts threw at it, this simulated “computer within a computer” wasn’t able to handle the random circuits given to it – and that became the bar set for Google’s quantum computer to beat."

The Proof
"But how was anyone to know if this output was correct, and if quantum supremacy really had been achieved? It’s impossible to use a traditional supercomputer to check the math – the whole point of this milestone is that a quantum processor has done something no other machine can do."

"...NASA and Google turned to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, home to Summit – the most powerful supercomputer in the world. There, they tested whether the quantum computer’s results matched with Summit’s all the way up to the quantum supremacy limit – and found that they did."

New Frontiers
"Reaching quantum supremacy opens up the ability to experiment and develop quantum processing technology far more rapidly across the board – largely because of the unprecedented degree of control over the quantum operations possible in Google’s hardware."

"Experimentation with quantum computing is now possible in a way it never has been before."


Best Explanation of Quantum Computing

IBM Casts Doubt on Google’s Claims of Quantum Supremacy,
AAAS Science, October 23, 2019.


"The Google group reiterates its claim that its 53-qubit computer performed, in 200 seconds, an arcane task that would take 10,000 years for Summit, a supercomputer IBM built for the Department of Energy that is currently the world’s fastest."

IBM Says No
"But IBM...announced that, by tweaking the way Summit approaches the task, it can do it far faster: in 2.5 days. IBM says the threshold for quantum supremacy—doing something a classical computer can’t—has thus still not been met."

Quantum Potential
"...a quantum computer employs qubits which can be set to zero, one, or—thanks to quantum mechanics—any combination of zero and one at the same time. That enables a quantum computer to process a multitude of inputs simultaneously. For example, a 10-qubit quantum computer could process 210, or 1024, possible inputs at once instead of analyzing them one at a time."

Quantum Probability Waves
"For certain computational problems, all potential solutions can be thought of as quantum waves simultaneously sloshing among the qubits. Set things up right and those waves interfere with one another so that incorrect answers cancel one another and the right answer pops out. Such interference should enable a full-fledged quantum computer to hack current internet encryption schemes by factoring the huge numbers that underlie them."

IBM Sour Grapes
“Quantum computers are not ‘supreme’ against classical computers because of a laboratory experiment designed to essentially … implement one very specific quantum sampling procedure with no practical applications...”

No Error Correction
"The Google computer also lacks the ability to correct errors, which may be key to making a full-fledged quantum computer."

The UC-Google-NASA-Oakridge Team Responds
“We are only one creative algorithm away from valuable near-term applications.”



Feb 2018
Can Quantum Computers Work? One Scientist Says No


Jan 2018
Astro Physics News Everyday Uses for Quantum Entanglement Emerge



Astro-Physics Observations, Summer & Fall of 2019

News of Man & Nature, October 2019








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