Daily Review: The Race for Quantum Supremacy Is On

The largest technology companies in the world are officially in the race for achieving quantum supremacy. Microsoft, Intel, IBM, and now Google, and Alibaba are hard at work to build and commercialize quantum computing capabilities.

Dubbed the ‘ultimate computing power’ of the Mother Nature, quantum computing is seen as a solution that can perform calculations at a rate far beyond that of traditional computers, Alibaba states.

Pick #1. Google’s New Bristlecone Processor Brings It One Step Closer to Quantum Supremacy

The purpose of Bristlecone is to provide its researchers with a test bed for research into system error rates and scalability of our qubit technology, as well as applications in quantum simulation, optimization, and machine learning.

Every Bristlecone chip features 72 qubits. The general assumption in the industry is that it will take 49 qubits to achieve quantum supremacy, but Google also cautions that a quantum computer isn’t just about qubits.

Operating a device such as a Bristlecone at low system error requires harmony between a full stack of technology ranging from software and control electronics to the processor itself, the team writes today. Getting this right requires careful systems engineering over several iterations.

The systems that Google previously demonstrated showed an error rate of 1% for readout, 0.1% for single-qubit and 0.6% for two-qubit gates.

Read more (+ the official announcement).

Pick #2. Alibaba Cloud & CAS Launch One of the World’s Most Powerful Public Quantum Computing Services

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China’s leading academic and research institute, have launched the superconducting quantum computing cloud, featuring a quantum processor with 11 quantum bits (qubits) of power.

This is in the top two of the most powerful public quantum computing services available in the world to date. Users can now access the superconducting quantum computing cloud through Alibaba Cloud’s quantum computing cloud platform to efficiently run and test custom-built quantum codes and download the results.

By introducing quantum computing services on (the) cloud, we make it easier for the teams to experiment with quantum applications in a real environment to better understand the property and performance of the hardware, as well as leading the way in developing quantum tools and software globally. The user experience offered on (the) cloud will, without doubt, help us further enhance our platform. – Dr. Shi Yaoyun, Chief Quantum Technology Scientist at Alibaba Cloud

Read more.

Pick #3. Amazon Wants to Make It Easier to Shop on Its Website Without a Credit Card

Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts.

This is the latest move by Amazon to solve one of the biggest barriers to shopping on its website: the lack of a credit card. More than a quarter of US households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. Unbanked, however, doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected – about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone.

For Amazon, this group of shoppers is increasingly vital. Online retailers make more money by getting shoppers to make repeat purchases – even if at a low dollar value – than they do if those shoppers spend a lot at once. Amazon has therefore been slowly building its base of products for lower-income shoppers.

Read more.

Pick #4. Alibaba Subsidiary Reports Successful Use of Blockchain Technology for Logistics Data

Lynx International, a subsidiary of Alibaba, has successfully integrated blockchain technology into the company’s cross-border logistics business. Its blockchain-based system keeps track of all relevant information regarding an imported shipment, including details about production, transport method, customs, inspection, and third-party verification.

So far, it is estimated that over 30,000 imported goods from ports in Shangai, Shenzhen, Guangzhuo, Hangzhuo, and Tianjin, among others, have had their details logged on the company’s blockchain system. Technical leader of the company, Tang Ren, confirmed that the information tracking process begins before the products even reach the country.

When these goods are shipped from overseas to China, the logistics data have already begun to go on the blockchain, he stated.

Read more.