So far, Google’s Sycamore computing system has been the fastest programmable quantum computer invented by humans. According to Google, its processor can complete a task that would take an ordinary computer 10,000 years in just 200 seconds. That was in 2019.
Today is 2021, and China has just unveiled two quantum computers of its own.
祖冲之2 (Zuchongzhi 2).
The first one named 祖冲之2 (Zǔchōngzhī 2) is comparable to Google’s Sycamore in terms of technology. It works with superconducting microchip resonators that are put into quantum states by microwaves. It operates with 66 qubits.
祖冲之 can perform computing operations about a million times more complicated than Google’s Sycamore could.
This is achieved because 祖冲之 operates with 66 qubits, but Google’s quantum computer operates with only 54 qubits. Each additional qubit increases the performance exponentially.
九章2 (Jiǔzhāng 2)
九章2 is the second quantum computer unveiled by Chinese scientists in 2021. Unlike 祖冲之 and Sycamore, this one does not use superconducting microchip resonators, but photons, or light.
九章2 is billions of times faster than current supercomputers, writes Chinese quantum physicist 潘建伟 (Pān Jiànwěi). Only one millisecond is needed for 九章2 to perform a computational task that would take a current supercomputer 30 trillion (a one with 18 zeros) years.
In tests, the supercomputer in Jülich, Germany, had the power of about 15,000 modern computers. This makes 九章2 more powerful in its computing operations than 15K * 30 trillion modern computers.
Comparing the performance of 九章2 to a conventional computer, it would take the latter about 30 billion years, for which 祖冲之2 would take only 1 millisecond.
The supercomputing capacity of “Jiuzhang 2.0” has potential applications in areas such as graph theory, machine learning and quantum chemistry, according to the team.