I think it is being over-hyped. A lab demo like this is a long way from practical application. Our encryption keys are still safe (for now).
The paper is about how their quantum computer is better at simulating a quantum circuit than a classical computer.
Given that a quantum computer is composed
of quantum circuits, this is interesting, but not exactly terribly surprising: fundamentally, their quantum computer is "computing" "natively" the same thing the classical computer is emulating.
And since that emulation, for a classical computer, is cost-exponential, yeah, no, it doesn't exactly "compete" very well.
But this is basically a spread-sheet comparison: They didn't actually do this. They are extrapolating the cost for a classical computer, and since the cost scales DRAMATICALLY with accuracy
(remember, "quantum" essentially equates to "probabilistic"!), well chose your time/memory trade-off (because you run out finite memory REAL QUICK, bam, bounded, so automatically
it turns into time++++++ after that point) + "hey what is 'good enough' accuracy, anyway" = get whatever you like for a headline. (10,000 years! wait a minute, that's awfully convenient
And that's the thing on the other side too: accuracy
. How "accurate" is the quantum computer? Remember, you have to measure it
. Box? Dead Cat? Yup, it's a dozy, and they're basically hand-waving that whole thing: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1666-5
Google's Nature Paper wrote:
Our model assumes that entangling larger and larger systems does not introduce additional error sources beyond the errors we measure at the single- and two-qubit level.
A key assumption underlying the theory of quantum error correction is that quantum state errors may be considered digitized and localized
Oh, ok then.
the engineering of quantum error correction will need to become a focus of attention.
Are our assumptions justified? Yeah, I would agree that such a thing should be a focus of attention...
...but nah, let's get those numbers (10,000 years!) in the headlines first.
Look, I'm all for research. But here's the thing: If a lab has to play misleading PR games like this, is that really a good sign?