Quantum Computer Versus Supercomputer

Dave Bacon (Google)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 3:30 pm
Amazon Auditorium

Maps, directions, streaming:  https://www.cs.washington.edu/events/colloquia/details?id=3105

The promise of quantum computers is that certain computational tasks might be executed exponentially faster on a quantum processor than on a classical processor. The task of “quantum supremacy” is to demonstrate that a real quantum computer can outpace the world’s most powerful classical computers, and is a key milestone towards practical quantum computing. In this talk, I will discuss the development of a programmable quantum processor at Google named Sycamore. This quantum computer consists of 53 qubits with state of the art operational fidelities. We benchmark the performance of Sycamore on randomly generated quantum circuits which are significantly more complex than any previous quantum computation, and the largest of these circuits are intractable on even the world’s most powerful supercomputers, thus demonstrating quantum supremacy. We also show that the performance of the Sycamore device is well predicted by a simple model, confirming that the principles of quantum computing work at scale and paving the way for future, larger, quantum computers.

Dave Bacon is a senior staff software engineer at Google. In his day job he builds quantum bridges and leads the software team for the Google’s quantum computing team. In a previous life he helped build Google Domains. In an even more previous life he was a research assistant professor at the University of Washington, where he did research on quantum algorithms and quantum error correction.