# Google, IBM, Basketball discussed on Reset

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Google has been cooking up something big in a study published in the journal Nature last week the company announced that it reached something called quantum supremacy Google says it has achieved the impossible quantum supremacy google's Google says it's the first quantum computer to achieve supremacy of traditional computing as when a quantum computer can perform a task that a classical computer couldn't do in any practical timeframe and that also is the extent of our understanding and by that I mean is it an mine now why do we care about this before you just say you know hey nerd what does this have to do with my life here's the really amazing thing about it goose team proven it can work is the hollow moment for quantum computing many of us have been waiting the term quantum supremacy it's frankly ridiculous it always makes me feel like electrons are going to take over the world but people have been waiting for this to happen for a long time like for years we've been waiting for announcement of what people call quantum supremacy in that's what Google announced this week that's Kevin Hartnett he's a senior writer for the math and physics magazine Quanta and the Google news got him fully learning out because of Google announced means that a special type of computer called a quantum computer is finally doing things instead of just feeling like this almost mythical dream for decades so shit's getting real and we're going to tell you why on today's episode where explaining quantum computing and why two of the biggest tech companies Google and IBM are obsessed with it Mario Jim Ross this is recess I promised I'd explain Google's quantum supremacy news but to do that I I have to make you eat your veggies by talking about Physics but don't worry because I got you I am here for you and we're all GonNa do this together so Kevin what's a quantum computer computer is a machine that performs calculations using the laws of quantum physics as opposed to guess your classical computer like your own your desktop computer that behaves according to the laws of classical physics so a classical computer computes using bits and bits can be either one or zero select the foundation of code basically exactly it's that's what that's what code is now a quantum computer doesn't use bits uses quantum bits or cubits and these to bid are made out of quantum material and a cube it can be in a position of one or zero or it can be described by the probability that it's in one or the probability that's in the position zero so what is the advantage of that system the advantage of that system is you have these many different possible states your quantum computer could be in when you are working through your calculation and each of those states has ability assigned to it that's the key a regular computer or what computing experts would call a classical computer like your laptop or your phone those computers can only try one possible pathway at a time to get an answer but a quantum computer can get to the right answer more efficiently that's not super intuitive so here's a thought experiment imagine a ball and a hill your task is to get that ball to land on a specific spot at the bottom of the hill so imagine that you're at the beginning of the Compu- computation you are at the top of a hill and you're gonNA roll a ball down the field and it could go any number of ways down the hill and up at any number of different spots at the bottom but there's only one spot at the bottom that's the correct so if you're if you have a classical computer the best you can do is kind of role that ball down the hill and see where it lands and see if it's the correct answer or not so you're constantly running the ball up the hill and then you get to drop it once and then maybe you get the correct answer if you don't you gotTa Roll it back up the hill and trial over again that's right it's a it's a lot of effort it takes a lot of time but with a quantum computer you have the ability to kind of Structure Your Ju- bits so that the path the ball down the hill is in some ways the the most likely path takes down the hill is the one that corresponds to the correct answer at the the hill so you can kind of tip the hill tip the scales in your favor in order to get to the correct answer a whole lot faster a lot faster that is the whole Shebang right there a quantum computer should theoretically be able to get you an answer a heck of a lot faster than computer but when it comes to speed sometimes the newest flashiest mode of transportation isn't the most reliable so you have to ask yourself when does coming in calculation with a quantum computer become undeniably more efficient than doing the same thing with a classical computer that in a nutshell is the quest for quantum supremacy to quantum supremacy is a benchmark that was set about seven years ago in two thousand twelve by a physicist named John Prescott at California Institute of Technology Caltech and what quantum supremacy means is a quantum computer can do something that no oh ordinary classical computer can match what exactly does that mean there's this idea that quantum computers should be able to perform calculations much fat faster than regular computers but a lot of people doubted whether it was possible to actually achieve a calculation like that in practice so supremacy is the moment a quantum computer actually performs a calculation that a classical computer simply can't keep up with because if you give a classic oh computer enough time maybe even more time than we have left in the universe it can do anything a quantum computer do supremacy means a quantum computer you can do something in a categorically faster way then a classical computer can do it the world's most powerful classical computer is called it it's owned by IBM and it's as big as two basketball courts Google's quantum computer on the other hand probably fits in your bedroom and it has a name to by the way it's called Sycamore so what Google did was give Sycamore very specific problem to solve called a random circuit sampling problem and what showed is that their computer can solve this random circuit sampling problem in about two hundred seconds and the most powerful classical computer in the world which is called summit will google estimated it would take computer ten thousand years to solve the same problem that their computer saw loved in two hundred seconds so what Google announced is that basically dunked really hard doc on IBM's most powerful computer the most powerful computer classical computer in the world it dunk tarred in the sense of this particular problems rush and you could say if that that feels like a big deal is it a big deal it is a big deal it's a big deal in a practical sense right there are lots of things we can do if they only take a couple minutes to carry out the calculation that we can't do if we need years or tens of thousands of years except that if you ask IBM who'll didn't dunk as hard as it says it did. IBM is certainly skeptical issued a paper saying not so fast I haven't actually done it because Google estimated in their paper that it would take a the most powerful ordinary computer ten thousand years to carry out this calculator Shen and IBM said actually that most powerful computer which we designed can do this in two and a half days in probably even faster than that if we had time to find soon how we did it and I should also that IBM themselves they are perhaps schools biggest competitor in the effort to build a quantum computer so as IBM just a sore loser or is this a very good point that they're making well the play they're making is good and it does point to something important about Sir embassy which is you're trying to prove that a quantum computer can do something faster than any classical computer can so proving supremacy he truly proving supremacy would involve proving there's no way classical computer can do this kind of problem as fast as a quantum computer little bigger if instead of fifty three cubits they have seventy cubits now a classical computer that fills two basketball courts won't be able to keep up all you need a classical computer the size of a city to simulate that same calculation and that's the sense in which the quantum computer is doing things allegorically faster than a classical computer and I think that difference is really what people have in mind when they talk about quantum supremacy and that's why most people are pretty comfortable saying that what Google did if it fully checks out is in fact a demonstration of quantum supremacy so is IBM also going to demonstrates supremacy anytime soon IBM has been on the record for a while now that they are not chasing the goal of quantum supremacy they view it as an unofficial benchmark will you could cross it and still not doing anything useful so they at least in their public statements have been much more tactically minded so this is a difference between Google being the kind of basketball player that wants to two straight up flip in the air before on King and IBM that just wants to do a layup because they know that it works and it's the same amount of points I'd say so and it it seems like Google has been or animated by the basic science of it and kind of the sense of possibility an exploration my man Kevin with the perfect segue so we've published Google's quantum computer is significantly faster than the most powerful classical computer in the world but what exactly are the possibilities with this are personal quantum computers in our future that's after the break.