Riding the Quantum Computing 'Wave'

October 31, 2019

An artist’s drawing of Google’s quantum computer chip, called Sycamore, and its surrounding hardware. (Forest Stearns/Google AI Quantum Artist in Residence)

The computing world was abuzz last week after Google scientists announced they’d passed a key threshold in which an experimental quantum computer solved a problem in just minutes that a classical computer would take years —10,000 by Google’s count — to solve. The pronouncement, later disputed by scientists at rival IBM, was widely hailed as proof that quantum computers, which use the mysterious properties of matter at extremely small scales to greatly advance processing power, can — as theorized — exhibit “quantum supremacy” and vastly outperform even the world’s most powerful classical computers.

At Harvard, George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin watched the announcement with interest, in part because he — together with collaborators from Harvard and MIT — already built a quantum machine of similar power to Google’s and used it to solve scientific problems. Lukin, who co-directs the Harvard Quantum Initiative, spoke with the Gazette about the week’s quantum computing news.

Read the interview with Prof. Lukin in The Gazette: "Riding the quantum computing ‘wave’" by Alvin Powell, October 29, 2019. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/10/harvard-weighs-in-on-googles-quantum-supremacy/.