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With Zuchongzhi, China (again) reaches quantum supremacy

With its Zuchongzhi quantum computer, a renowned team of Chinese researchers have achieved impressive results in preliminary work. The promise of new advances in quantum computing.

In pre-publication impressive, Chinese researchers have just unveiled a new 66 qbit quantum supercomputer that represents a small revolution. The designers of Zuchongzhi – named after an ancient Chinese astronomer and mathematician – claim he has achieved quantum supremacy, a concept that means a machine is able to perform tasks beyond the reach of non-quantum supercomputers. the most powerful.

In testing, Zuchongzhi completed a benchmark specifically designed for quantum computers in just 70 minutes. According to the research team, a classic supercomputer would need around eight hours to do the same job. This allows researchers to claim that their machine has comfortably achieved quantum supremacy. And apparently much sharper and less ambiguous than its predecessors like Google.

Our work shows unambiguously that we have achieved computational performance unattainable by classical computing in a reasonable period of time.”, Explains the research team. “This high precision programmable platform opens new doors to explore many phenomena, and implement complex quantum algorithms.

A convincing pre-study

Another advantage: Zuchongzhi’s architecture is fully extensible and scalable. When placed under a very heavy workload on him, Jian-Wei Pan and his colleagues found that he always behaved exactly as expected, a crucial component for concrete applications of this technology.

On the other hand, it should be noted that this is only a pre-publication. Researchers will still have to carry out a large number of tests and prepare a solid research paper, which will be submitted for validation by other experts to validate a possible record.

But it is a very competent team, led by a world authority of quantum entanglement. His team has already distinguished itself many times in the field, in particular with its work on the quantum computer. Jiuzhang. One can therefore reasonably be confident in their conclusions.

An analysis shared by physicist Peter Knight (who did not participate in the work). Asked by the New Scientist, he says to himself “very excited”By these works. “This proves what we always thought we knew, but never succeeded in proving experimentally: we can always beat a classic machine by adding a few qbits ”.

A technological tour de force in an increasingly political field

Record or not, this is quite a feat on the part of Chinese researchers, in the continuity of their meteoric progress in high performance computing. Today, Beijing already has two of the 10 most powerful supercomputers in the world (Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2A), but does not seem to want to stop there. And we understand it: by remaining at the forefront of quantum computing, China is investing heavily in a technology that is potentially set to become a new standard in the long term.

Even if some specialists doubt its practical applicability, quantum computing remains a research area of ​​major strategic importance. And not just for researchers and engineers. Because on the current geopolitical scene, high performance computing – quantum or not – is starting to become an essential metric, just like GDP, population or the stock of nuclear weapons to express the power of a nation. It is therefore easy to understand why the research team is so quick to take pride in a result that has not yet been evaluated by their peers.

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