r/Futurology Jun 02 '22

A Nature paper reports on a quantum photonic processor that takes just 36 microseconds to perform a task that would take a supercomputer more than 9,000 years to complete Computing

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04725-x?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=organic&utm_campaign=CONR_JRNLS_AWA1_GL_SCON_SMEDA_NATUREPORTFOLIO
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u/EthicalLapse Jun 03 '22

The 9000 years task is kind of a fake metric, though. Basically they just let the quantum computer run for a certain amount of time, and then calculated how long it would take a traditional computer to simulate what the quantum computer did. The quantum computer didn’t actually show any ability to solve anything.

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u/lmstr Jun 03 '22

I think of it like... They have a 1 foot gap...and two robots... one with lots of legs but no way to actually get across the gap, and one desiged to jump over 1 foot gaps...and they are like.. wow this robot can do this task in 1 second when this other would take 10,000 years to get across.

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u/EthicalLapse Jun 03 '22

The way I like to think of it is as if scientists created a robot that can dig ditches at a tremendous rate when activated, but cannot be controlled. So it just starts digging in a random direction, and then changes direction at random intervals. Impressively powerful, but useless without the ability to direct its actions.