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One of the main goals in quantum computing is to experimentally demonstrate that a quantum machine can perform some computational task faster than a classical one. A team of researchers based in France and the UK has now done just that using a simple quantum photonics experimental set-up. Their work shows that it is possible for a quantum computer to verify solutions to problems classified as NP-complete using a so-called interactive proof protocol and only minimal, unverified information about the solution.

The work is among several recent milestones in demonstrating quantum advantage. In 2019, Google claimed to be the first to the finish line with their 53 programmable superconducting qubit (quantum bit) set-up. More recently, a team in China announced that they had successfully performed “boson sampling”,  a task known to be hard for a classical computer. Unlike these previous results, however, the new research, which is published in Nature Communications, not only demonstrates quantum advantage but also promises to be useful in applications like secure quantum cloud computing.

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