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A quantum computer may have solved a problem in minutes that would take the fastest conventional supercomputer more than 10,000 years. A draft of a paper by Google researchers laying out the achievement leaked in recent days, setting off an avalanche of news coverage and speculation.

While the research has not yet been peer-reviewed—the final version of the paper is expected to appear soon—if it all checks out it would represent "the first computation that can only be performed on a ."

That sounds impressive, but what does it mean?

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Category: Science