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Things are getting real for researchers in the UC Santa Barbara John Martinis/Google group. They are making good on their intentions to declare supremacy in a tight global race to build the first quantum machine to outperform the world's best classical supercomputers.

But what is quantum supremacy in a field where horizons are being widened on a regular basis, in which teams of the brightest quantum computing minds in the world routinely up the ante on the number and type of quantum bits ("qubits") they can build, each with their own range of qualities?

"Let's define that, because it's kind of vague," said Google researcher Charles Neill. Simply put, he continued, "we would like to perform an algorithm or computation that couldn't be done otherwise. That's what we actually mean."

Neill is lead author of the group's new paper, "A blueprint for demonstrating quantum supremacy with superconducting qubits," now published in the journal Science.

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Category: Science