Google working to build error-corrected quantum computer by 2029, unveils its Quantum AI campus

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May 20, 2021 6:51 PM

With the help of this technology, Google hopes that major problems like world hunger and climate change could be solved.

Quantum computing works in qubits or quantum bits instead of regular bits and it has the ability to exponentially increase the amount of information that can be processed

Quantum computer: Search engine giant Google announced at I/O on Tuesday that it was working towards building a useful and error-corrected quantum computer within this decade. Now, the tech giant has revealed its Santa Barbara-based Quantum AI campus where it would be working on the technology. The campus has hardware research laboratories, a quantum data centre as well as facilities for quantum processor chip fabrication. With the help of this technology, Google hopes that major problems like world hunger and climate change could be solved.

The development has come about one and a half year after the tech giant said that it had achieved quantum supremacy, wherein it said that a calculation that would take a traditional supercomputer 10,000 or more years to complete was done by its quantum computer within a mere 200 seconds. Quantum supremacy refers to a milestone a quantum computer is able to perform a calculation that would otherwise be impossible on a traditional computer.

Also read | Google I/O 2021: Google showcases next-gen AI’s diverse natural conversations as paper plane and dwarf planet Pluto

However, several companies have been working on their own quantum computers, and have also questioned the progress that Google claims it has made. Back when Google announced its achievement of quantum supremacy, IBM had said that the calculation that its quantum computer performed could be performed in 2.5 days or even less by a traditional supercomputer, casting a shadow of doubt on the search engine giant’s development.

Quantum computing works in qubits or quantum bits instead of regular bits and it has the ability to exponentially increase the amount of information that can be processed, reaching much faster processing speeds. According to Google, this extra processing power would be helpful in accurate simulation of molecules and therefore, nature, which would allow companies in the creation of fertilisers that are more carbon-efficient, designing of better batteries, or even the development of more targeted medicines.

This, it says, would be possible because the quantum computer could run accurate simulations before an investment in real-world prototypes are made.

But even as Google has said that it has achieved quantum supremacy, it still has to go a long way before it is able to build a useful quantum computer, the Mountain View-based company said. This is especially true because the current quantum computers are made of less than 100 qubits and Google is targeting to make one with a whopping 10,00,000 qubits. This would be done in a multi-stage process, the first of which would be minimise the errors made by qubits. It would then put together 1,000 physical qubits to make a single logical qubit, which will lay the groundwork for the quantum transistor.

Google is however positive about its challenging journey ahead, with Google’s Quantum AI program scientist in-charge Hartmut Neven saying that they have all the important components as well as the road map for how to reach the target, which makes them confident.

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