Google’s rivals have cast aspersions on claims that the tech giant has achieved a major milestone in quantum computing.
Researchers at Google last week claimed to have built a quantum computer capable of performing calculations far beyond the abilities of current supercomputers, an achievement known as quantum supremacy.
Google said its new quantum processor could perform in 200 seconds a task that would take the most advanced supercomputer roughly 10,000 years.
The claim, reported by the Financial Times, appeared in a paper that was briefly published on Nasa’s website before being taken down.
“This dramatic speed-up relative to all known classical algorithms provides an experimental realisation of quantum supremacy on a computational task and heralds the advent of a much-anticipated computing paradigm,” the report stated.
“To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor.”
However, rival IBM has branded Google’s claim “indefensible” and “plain wrong”.
IBM’s head of research Dario Gil told the Financial Times that while some of Google’s technical advances were noteworthy, the notion that this was a milestone in computing was exaggerated.
The research was “a laboratory experiment designed to essentially — and almost certainly exclusively — implement one very specific quantum sampling procedure with no practical applications,” he said.
Tech firms have been investing significant resources into quantum computing, which is expected to mark a huge step forward in computing capabilities.
While traditional computers operate using bits – consisting of ones or zeros – quantum computing replaces this with qubits.
Qubits are not restricted to these binary categories, enabling far greater computing power.
Google has been contacted for comment.