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Google wants to push quantum computing mainstream with ‘Bristlecone’ chip

Google unveiled it’s new quantum computing chip called “Bristlecone” for researchers – “for research into system error rates and scalability of our qubit technology, as well as applications in quantum simulation, optimization, and machine learning”.

Google Bristlecone quantum computing chip
Picture Source: Google


How does it work?

Quantum computers normally run at super-cold temperatures in the millikelvins and are protected from the environment because quantum bits are very unstable, with errors occurring if there’s any noise.

The qubits in new quantum processors aren’t individual qubits, but they are a collective of bits that work together to stop possible errors. Right now, quantum processors are limited to preserving their state for less than 100ms.

“We are cautiously optimistic that quantum supremacy can be achieved with Bristlecone,” said Julian Kelly, a research scientist at the Quantum AI Lab.

Google said that it’s not just about brute qubit numbers, but as “Operating a device such as Bristlecone at low system error requires harmony between a full stack of technology ranging from software and control electronics to the processor itself. Getting this right requires careful systems engineering over several iterations”.

There is a strong possibility that quantum supremacy may be achieved with current generation hardware, Google notes that it may take several hardware revisions before success is found. How long each iteration may take is unknown, meaning that it could still be quite some time before quantum computing is ready for use outside of a lab.


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