In a dramatic tour de force, teams led by Jian-Wei Pan at the University of Science and Technology of China have shown, in two separate studies, remarkable progress toward the demonstration of quantum primacy [1, 2]. Quantum primacy is the goal of showing that a programmable quantum computer solves a computational problem that is currently infeasible for nonquantum, or “classical,” computers . Impressive recent experiments led to claims that this point has been reached , but they prompted debates on whether the demonstrated quantum computation was truly beyond the reach of existing classical computers. It has been suggested, for example, that these experiments didn’t involve a comparison with the best possible classical algorithms or implementations . The two major results by the Pan group push experimental quantum computing to far larger problem sizes, making it much harder to find classical algorithms and classical computers that can keep up. The results take us further toward trusting claims that we have indeed reached the age of computational quantum primacy.
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