Are quantum computers faster than supercomputers?

  • Google’s latest Sycamore quantum computer demonstrated computing power 47 years faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer, marking a major breakthrough in quantum computing.
  • Although quantum computers are still in the prototype stage, Google’s Sycamore has demonstrated its huge potential for handling complex calculations. With each new development, these machines operate under extremely specific conditions and face stability and error management challenges.
  • The Google team used a synthetic benchmark called random circuit sampling to test the limits of its Sycamore quantum computer. By obtaining data from randomly generated quantum processes, this method maximizes the speed of key operations and reduces the interference of external noise on calculations.

Google’s Sycamore quantum computer used 70 qubits to complete calculations in seconds that would have taken Frontier, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, 47 years to complete, demonstrating the extraordinary potential of quantum computing. Although quantum computers still face stability and error problems, this achievement shows that quantum computing has reached a state beyond classical computing and promotes significant progress in quantum computing research.

Google’s 70 qubit system

Google’s latest quantum computer, Sycamore, featuring 70 operational qubits, has demonstrated unprecedented computational speed, completing tasks in seconds that would take the world’s fastest supercomputer, Frontier, over 47 years. This significant step forward highlights the immense potential of quantum computing despite its current limitations, such as requiring extreme conditions to operate and struggling with stability and error rates. The achievement reinforces the concept of quantum supremacy, where quantum computers perform calculations beyond the reach of classical computers, marking a pivotal moment in the evolution of computational technology.

Also read: What is the purpose of a supercomputer?

Also read: Microsoft, OpenAI plot US$100 billion Stargate AI supercomputer

The evolution of quantum computing

Quantum computers, still largely in the prototype phase, are proving their worth with each new development, as demonstrated by Google’s Sycamore. These machines operate under extremely specific conditions and face challenges in stability and error management, yet their potential for handling complex calculations is becoming more evident. Google’s use of random circuit sampling as a benchmark underscores the rapid advancements in quantum computing capabilities, suggesting that fully practical quantum computers may not be as far off as previously thought.

Random circuit sampling

Google’s team employed a synthetic benchmark known as random circuit sampling to push the limits of their quantum computer, Sycamore. This method involves taking readings from randomly generated quantum processes, which maximizes the speed of critical actions and reduces the risk of external noise disrupting calculations. By comparing the results to those of traditional supercomputers, Google showcased the superior performance of quantum systems, asserting that Sycamore’s efficiency places it firmly in the realm of beyond-classical computation.

Overcoming quantum noise challenges

The experiments also shed light on managing quantum noise, a critical hurdle in quantum computing. Successfully recording qubit states amidst inherent uncertainties paves the way for more stable and reliable quantum systems, marking a significant step forward in the field.

Milestone in quantum research

According to experts like Steve Brierley, this development marks a major milestone in quantum computing. The findings, although yet to be peer-reviewed, indicate that the once-debated concept of quantum supremacy is now a reality, pushing the boundaries of computational possibilities.


Alaiya Ding

Alaiya Ding is an intern news reporter at Blue Tech Wave specialising in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from China Jiliang University College of Modern Science and Technology. Send tips to

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