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Quantum Supremacy - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
Quantum Supremacy


What’s in news?

Scientists at Google achieved quantum supremacy by solving an incredibly hard problem in just 200 seconds.

Key data’s:

  • The research was published in the journal Nature.
  • They said their quantum system had executed a calculation in 200 seconds that would have taken a traditional computer to solve the problem in 2.5 years.
  • Google’s new quantum computer did something new in the exploration of nature as these systems are doing things that are unprecedented.
  • Traditional computers: The computers which utilize the flow of electricity and can be turned on or off at switches inside circuits. Whether a switch is on or off generates the ones and zeros that underlie all computer code.  

Quantum Supremacy:

  • The researchers have been able to use a quantum computer to perform a single calculation that no conventional computer, even the biggest supercomputer, can perform in a reasonable amount of time.

The case of Google:

  • This calculation involved checking whether the output of an algorithm for generating random numbers was truly random.
  • The researchers were able to use a quantum computer to perform this complex mathematical calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds, according to the paper.
  • They say it would have taken Summit 3—an IBM-built machine that is the world’s most powerful commercially-available conventional computer—about 10,000 years to perform the same task.

How do quantum computers work?

  • Quantum computers work by harnessing the properties of quantum mechanics.
  • Quantum computers use logical units called quantum bits, or qubits for short, that can be put into a quantum state where they can simultaneously represent both 0 and 1.

Difference between classical and quantum computers:

  • Classical computers process information in a binary format, called bits, which can represent either a 0 or 1.
  • While the bits in a classical computer all operate independently from one another, in a quantum computer, the status of one qubit effects the status of all the other qubits in the system, so they can all work together to achieve a solution.


  • But while a conventional computer outputs the same answer to a problem every time you run a calculation, the outputs of a quantum computer are probabilistic.
  • That means it does not always produce the same answer.
  • So, to use a quantum computer, you have to run a calculation through the system thousands or even millions of times, and the array of outputs converge around the answer that is most likely to be correct.

Data to know:

  • Quantum Supremacy, the term was coined by the Physicist Caltech particle.
  • Superposition: A state of a particle can have two different amplitudes at the same time.


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