Futurizonte Editor’s Note: The new “Cold War” is a computer war.
MIT Quantum Computing Professor Scott Aaronson blogged about the quantum supremacy work. Scott basically is confirming that there are updated versions of the Google Quantum Supremacy paper and that the entire Quantum research community all knew about the Google work. Peer review has been well underway and it is looking very promising that peer review will confirm the work. The 53 qubits of the Google machine will also be able to generate truly random numbers.
Google is indeed preparing a big announcement about quantum supremacy, to coincide with the publication of its research paper in a high-profile journal. This will probably happen within a month.
Running Shor’s algorithm to break the RSA cryptosystem would require several thousand logical qubits. With known error-correction methods, that could easily translate into millions of physical qubits, and those probably of a higher quality than any that exist today.
There are even candidates for public-key cryptosystems (with some using lattices) that are impervious to quantum computing. Researcher have tried for 20+ years to determine quantum methods to use against quantum-proof encryption systems.
The Google group 53 qubit system can be used to demonstrate Aaronson’s protocol for generating certified random bits.
Aaronson’s Proposals for Next Steps
1. A programmable QC with 50-100 qubits could be used for a useful quantum simulation (maybe a condensed-matter system) much faster than any known classical method.
2. Demonstrate the use of quantum error-correction, to keep an encoded qubit alive for longer than the underlying physical qubits remain alive.
We do not know how quickly quantum computers can be scaled up. However, there is the expectation of doubling qubits every 6 to 18 months.