Google Quantum AI’s quantum computer, located at the Quantum AI Campus in Santa Barbara, California, has been optimized to have a smaller margin of error. This computer successfully carried out an experiment in which it managed to solve a calculation that with conventional computing equipment would have taken more than a thousand years to solve. The aforementioned experiment was announced in the magazine Nature on October 23, 2019. Through this same magazine, Google announced on February 22, 2023 that they have managed to reduce the margin of error of their quantum computer. Scientists consider this a great advance, however, this margin was only reduced a little and in order to obtain better and more reliable results it must be reduced much more.
Operation of a computer
Conventional computers work with bits that are represented by 1s and 0s; This is because they work with transistors that act as a kind of “switch” that allows the flow of electrons (1), or stops it (0). This generates various combinations of 1 and 0, and is what is called Binary Language, which allows information to be stored. When an error occurs in a computer like this, it has the ability to locate and solve it, however, according to Google’s director of Quantum Hardware, Julian Kelly, “We cannot do this with quantum information.” This is because quantum computers work with subatomic particles that do not obey the conventional laws of physics.
How a quantum computer works
On the other hand, quantum computers work with qubits, which cannot be interrupted by a transistor and do not have a defined value. These particles can be at the values 1 and 0 at the same time, but when you want to measure the qubit it adopts a single value. This is known as quantum superposition.
Scientists took advantage of this property of the qubit because superposition allows many possible combinations to be had at the same time; Furthermore, these particles have a property known as “entanglement” which causes that when a particle is measured, a chain reaction occurs where the particles acquire an absolute value.
How Google managed to reduce the margin of error
The solution that Google’s theoretical scientists found to reduce the margin of error was to increase the number of logical qubits (a qubit loaded with information and made up of several physical qubits). An experiment was carried out to test this theory in which they used a small group of 17 qubits, which managed to recover from one error at a time, later, they used a larger group of 49 qubits and managed to recover from 2 errors simultaneously and worked as expected. more efficiently than the small group.
Google has proposed a “quantum computing road map” with 6 goals, the last being to have a machine capable of processing one million qubits in order to give commercial value to quantum computers. Perhaps in the near future we will be able to see how quantum computing revolutionizes our ways of living, making complex processes much more efficient and will help a lot in scientific research and discoveries.