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Ordinary Computers Can Beat Google's Quantum Computer After All

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Google's Sycamore chip.

The researchers calculated the output pattern for 1 million of the 9 quadrillion possible number strings, relying on an innovation of their own to obtain a truly random, representative set. The computation took 15 hours on 512 GPUs.

Credit: Google

Scientists at China's Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said they could beat Google's Sycamore quantum computer in performing an esoteric calculation using ordinary processors paired with a supercomputer.

In 2019, Google researchers set all quantum bits (qubits) to 0, applied to single qubits and pairs a random yet fixed set of logical operations (gates) over 20 cycles, then read out the qubits; they said Sycamore could compute in 200 seconds what would take a supercomputer 10,000 years to complete.

The CAS team said classical processors can be used to achieve the same result in just a few hours.

The researchers reimagined the calculation as a three-dimensional mathematical array called a tensor network, in which CAS' Pan Zhang said, "we can use many GPUs [graphics processing units] to do the computations in parallel."

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