By Zhu Lixin in Hefei | chinadaily.com.cn
Updated: Oct 11, 2023
Imagine that a new type of computer could finish a special computing task with a speed 10 quadrillion times faster than the world's current most powerful supercomputer.
Chinese scientists from Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui province, have recently created a quantum computer prototype named Jiuzhang 3.0 with 255 detected photons, achieving a major breakthrough in quantum computational speedup.
Developed by a research team from the Hefei-based University of Science and Technology of China, Jiuzhang 3.0 has been shown to solve a Gaussian Boson Sampling (GBS) problem 10 quadrillion times faster than Frontier, the world's current most powerful super computer.
Estimating with the best classical algorithms to date, generating a single ideal sample from the same distribution on the supercomputer Frontier would take about 600 years using exact methods, whereas Jiuzhang 3.0 takes only 1.27 microseconds to produce a sample, according to a study published online in the journal Physical Review Letters on Wednesday.
Generating the hardest sample from the experiment using an exact algorithm would take Frontier about 31 billion years, according to the team, whose members include Lu Chaoyang, Liu Naile and renowned Chinese quantum physicist Pan Jianwei.
In 2020, the team led by Pan created the world's first light-based quantum computer prototype, Jiuzhang, which can reliably demonstrate a quantum advantage over classical computers.
The initial prototype used a new method of manipulating 76 photons to perform the extremely esoteric calculation in 200 seconds, while the same task would have taken Fugaku, the world's fastest classical supercomputer at the time, around 600 million years.
In 2021, the team upgraded the prototype to Jiuzhang 2.0, with 113 detected photons to demonstrate a more powerful calculation capacity for GBS problems.