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How Much Has Quantum Computing Actually Advanced?

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John Martinis, professor of physics at University of California, Santa Barbara.

"The quantum supremacy experiment was interesting as it showed that a powerful quantum computer could be built...the next step will be to show both a powerful and useful computer."-John Martinis

Credit: Erik Lucero

John Martinis is a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the former chief architect of Google’s Sycamore.

Someone who is cynical about quantum computing might compare it to fusion, or any promising tech whose real rewards are—if even achievable—decades off. A quantum computing optimist, on the other hand, might point to the glut of top-tier research being done in academia and industry.

In an interview, John Martinis offers a measured perspective on how much quantum computing is actually advancing as a field.

"It's great that people are building larger systems, but it would be even more important to see data on how well the qubits are working," Martinis said. "I think gate errors are way more important than the number of qubits at this time. It's nice to show that you can make a lot of qubits, but if you don't make them well enough, it's less clear what the advance is."

From IEEE Spectrum
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