A paper published in the journal “Nature” in October and co-authored by Joseph C. Bardin, electrical and computer engineering, is ranked No. 12 in the annual Altmetric Top 100 highlights of research published in 2019. The list includes research papers that have generated significant international online attention and discussion. Altmetric tracks and analyzes the online activity around scholarly research.
Bardin is a member of the multi-disciplinary research team that published the paper that says Google, using a quantum computer, has achieved a breakthrough by performing a task that isn’t possible with traditional computers.
In the paper, scientists at Google’s research laboratory in Santa Barbara, Calif., say they have reached a milestone they call “quantum supremacy” by performing a mathematical calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that today’s largest supercomputers could not complete in less than 10,000 years.
The paper, which has more than 70 authors, received national news coverage and generated 375 news stories and more than 6,000 tweets, according to Altmetric.
Bardin, who is currently on leave at Google in California, says he works with the team on integrated circuit control and measurement electronics.
The quantum computer the Google scientists are using is different from ordinary devices because it relies on the way some objects react at the subatomic level or when they are subject to extreme cold, like metal chilled to 460 degrees below zero.
Scientists have known for a century that the predictable laws of Newtonian physics fall apart at the atomic and subatomic level. In this quantum realm, electrons leap instantaneously from one energy state to another. Particles can exist in multiple states at the same time, a phenomenon known as “superposition.” They can also stay connected across large distances, what modern physicists call “entanglement.”
In the paper, the research team says, “Our Sycamore processor takes about 200 seconds to sample one instance of a quantum circuit a million times—our benchmarks currently indicate that the equivalent task for a state-of-the-art classical supercomputer would take approximately 10,000 years. This dramatic increase in speed compared to all known classical algorithms is an experimental realization of quantum supremacy for this specific computational task, heralding a much-anticipated computing paradigm.”