According to the study published in the journal Nature, Google’s quantum computer, named Sycamore, was able to solve a theoretical problem that no classical computer would be able to solve in a reasonable amount of time. This achievement is called quantum supremacy.
Sycamore solved in just about 3 minutes and 30 seconds a random circuit sampling problem that would take the world’s fastest traditional computer 10,000 years to figure out.
“To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can be performed only on a quantum processor,” the study said
However, the other main figure in the race to quantum supremacy, IBM, disputed the achievement on Monday in a blog post that argued a classical computer could actually solve the same problem in just two and a half days or less if data storage was optimized.
Dario Gil, the director of research at IBM, previously told U.S. News that the term quantum supremacy can be misleading, as quantum computers will never be supreme over classical computers, and both will be needed to work together to solve problems.
Still, analysts say that quantum supremacy is an important step, though its significance is more important for research purposes than for everyday life at this point.
The next step for quantum computers would be for them to become commercially useful. Once quantum computers can achieve practical problem solving, the world could make leaps in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, weather forecasting and artificial intelligence.