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Chinese scientists make world’s first light-based quantum computer: Report


PTI, Dec 5, 2020, 12:02 PM IST

Beijing: Chinese scientists claim to have created the world’s first light-based quantum computer which can solve problems far faster than a classical supercomputer, an advance hailed by experts as a ‘major achievement’ that provides a fundamentally different approach to designing such powerful machines, the official media reported on Saturday.

Jiuzhang, the quantum computer, can reliably demonstrate ‘quantum computational advantage’, a milestone in computing, state-run China Daily quoted a study published in the journal Science.

Quantum computers excel at running simulations that are impossible for conventional computers, leading to breakthroughs in materials science, artificial intelligence and medicine.

Jiuzhang takes its name from an ancient Chinese mathematical text. It can perform an extremely esoteric calculation, called Gaussian boson sampling, in 200 seconds. The same task would take the world’s fastest classical supercomputer Fugaku around 600 million years, the report said.

It is the second such milestone after Google declared its 53-qubit quantum computer had achieved such a breakthrough last year.

Jiuzhang used a new method of manipulating 76 photons to do calculations instead of Google’s, which uses superconductive materials, the report said.

Experts hailed China’s quantum computer as a ‘state-of-the-art experiment’ and a ‘major achievement’ in quantum computing, as it proves the feasibility of photonic quantum computation, thus providing a fundamentally different approach to designing such powerful machines, it said.

China has been investing heavily in mastering the quantum technology in recent years.

In 2017, China had launched quantum communication satellite boosting hack proof and ultra-high security features, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said.

The Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) satellite is the first-ever space-ground test platform for quantum communication, Wang Jianyu, executive deputy chief engineer of the project had told the official media earlier.

Chinese officials claimed that the quantum satellite was expected to provide a full proof hack-free communications which make foreign powers to monitor or intercept China’s communication systems.

Later in the year, China has launched a 2,000-km ‘hack proof’ quantum communication line between capital Beijing and its commercial headquarters Shanghai which cannot be wiretapped.

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