Here’s how quantum computer supremacy will impact self-driving cars

 

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Quantum supremacy, achieved?

The news recently was agog with the claim that the so-called and highly sought “quantum supremacy” had been achieved via an effort undertaken by Google researchers.

Not everyone agreed though that the Google effort warranted waving the superlative supremacy flag.

That’s not to say that the use of their 54-qubit Sycamore processor wasn’t notable, and in fact, does provide another handy stride toward achieving viable quantum computing, but whether it was the vaunted moment of true supreme magnificence is something that many would argue is premature and supremely debatable.

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‘Quantum Apocalypse’: How ultra-powerful computers could cripple governments and effectively break the internet

 

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A new era of computing could bring about a ‘quantum apocalypse’

‘Our modern systems of finance, commerce, communication, transportation, manufacturing, energy, government, and healthcare will for all intents and purposes cease to function,’ cyber security expert warns

A new era of unfathomably fast computers is just a few years away, with quantum computers set to transform the way we communicate, cure disease, and even solve problems previously thought impossible.

But some computing experts fear functional quantum computers could also effectively break the internet as we know it.

Recent progress made by Google means their arrival could be sooner than expected. A leaked research paper suggests the company has achieved what is known as quantum supremacy, whereby a quantum computer performed a calculation that was far beyond the reach of today’s most powerful supercomputers.

First theorised by the physicist Richard Feynman in 1982, quantum computers combine the peculiar properties of quantum physics with computer science to achieve processing power that is exponentially more powerful than traditional computers.

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Here’s what quantum supremacy does—and doesn’t—mean for computing

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Google has reportedly demonstrated for the first time that a quantum computer is capable of performing a task beyond the reach of even the most powerful conventional supercomputer in any practical time frame—a milestone known in the world of computing as “quantum supremacy.”

The ominous-sounding term, which was coined by theoretical physicist John Preskill in 2012, evokes an image of Darth Vader–like machines lording it over other computers. And the news has already produced some outlandish headlines, such as one on the Infowars website that screamed, “Google’s ‘Quantum Supremacy’ to Render All Cryptography and Military Secrets Breakable.” Political figures have been caught up in the hysteria, too: Andrew Yang, a presidential candidate, tweeted that “Google achieving quantum computing is a huge deal. It means, among many other things, that no code is uncrackable.”

Nonsense. It doesn’t mean that at all. Google’s achievement is significant, but quantum computers haven’t suddenly turned into computing colossi that will leave conventional machines trailing in the dust. Nor will they be laying waste to conventional cryptography in the near future—though in the longer term, they could pose a threat we need to start preparing for now.

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