It’s no secret that China and U.S.A. are competing intensely for the title of the world’s most powerful country. Now, it seems like the Asian nation has steered clear of its American rival, thanks to the former’s supercomputer breakthrough.
China’s new supercomputers, Zuchongzhi 2.1 and Jiuzhang 2.0, have pushed the world’s most populous nation ahead in the supercomputer race. These machines give the Chinese a double “quantum advantage” that has helped them pip their rivals in quantum computing.
For the uninitiated, quantum advantage is a term that implies a quantum computer can perform various tasks better than a classical computer. This advantage is a justification for further advancing quantum computers.
As reported by Global Times, the aforementioned quantum computers, built by researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), have given China quantum computational advantage in two mainstream technical routes: superconducting quantum computing and photonic quantum computing. This marks the first time any country has achieved this advantage in two different routes.
The Zuchongzhi 2.1, which takes its name from a historical Chinese mathematician-cum-astronomer, is a 66-qubit programmable superconducting quantum computer. It is reportedly 10 million times faster than the world’s current fastest supercomputer. Moreover, it can even handle calculations that are 100 times more complex than what Google’s Sycamore can handle.
On the other hand, Jiuzhang 2.0 is a photonic quantum computer prototype. With 113 detected photons, it outperforms the original Jiuzhang supercomputer that had just 76. This upgrade reportedly helps it perform Gaussian Boson Sampling a septillion times faster than the current fastest supercomputer.
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Given the importance of technology in today’s time, this achievement with a supercomputer is a big win for China in its quest to topple the U.S.A. as the world’s leading superpower.