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China quantum supremacy announcement: What UK think about it...

December 4th 2020 | 455 readers

Richard Murray, ORCA Computing
Richard Murray, ORCA Computing
For Richard Murray, CEO of ORCA Computing - the only UK-based quantum computer company using photonic technology similar to China, "This is a significant benchmark in the rising maturity and power of quantum computers. The announcement also shows that photonics is now a leading contender in the geo-political race to get to a useful quantum computer.  We are currently investigating the claims made, but if they turn out to be true, this results will surpass the ‘ supremacy' claim by Google made last year. However, the Google machine remains superior in terms of versatility- as it is less specialist and can be used to solve other types of problems. But the cost to China of getting to their announcement today must have run into billions of pounds. Our system at ORCA, for example, has all the advantages that come from working with photons, but employs a method called ‘quantum memory’ to mean far fewer components are needed. This reduces the cost and risk of errors. Our system is also based on optical fibre, which is easier to make into a product than relying on air, as the Chinese computer does."

Roger McKinlay, UKRI
Roger McKinlay, UKRI
For Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director for quantum technologies at UK Research and Innovation, “The announcement from China reinforces how innumerable technical challenges towards a useful quantum computer are being overcome, particularly using an approach where the UK has real strength, both in the science and a pioneering photonics industry. What China has achieved also shows that quantum computing is not a single invention to be seen in isolation, but evidence that we are mastering our control of matter, specifically quantum states, and using different approaches to do so. This is a very exciting development.

Philippe Nieuwbourg is an independent trainer and analyst, a specialist in data analysis for... Know more about this author

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