It is necessary for scientists to demonstrate that quantum computers can provide advantages over the classical computers that are already in use before the quantum era can officially begin. IBM researchers recently undertook an experiment to demonstrate this point.
Several researchers at IBM Quantum have published a new blog post detailing their work on a new type of quantum advantage. The researchers claim to have revealed the first ever simultaneous proof as well as experimental verification of a new kind of quantum advantage. The researchers demonstrated that even today’s erratically shifted qubits provide “greater value than bits as a medium of storage during calculations.”
Rather than thinking of computers as discrete devices, the IBM quantum team considers them as circuits, with each circuit consisting of a number of classical or quantum bits at its beginning. Following the initialisation of these bits, the circuit goes forwards through a user-written programme, which is composed of gates, to complete the task at hand. While different gates have varied effects on these bits, the output of this type of circuit is always a set of zeroes and ones, regardless of whether the circuit is classical or quantum.
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The bits in classical computers are switches that can be either on or off, and they interact with one another inside gates that flip switches dependent on the inputs to the gate. The switch positions of quantum bits, also known as qubits, can be a mixture of these two switch positions, and quantum gates can generate states that incorporate every possible combination of switch positions.
Putting the advantage of quantum on display
With their new academic paper, “Quantum advantage for computations with limited space,” which was published in Nature Physics and titled “Quantum advantage for computations with limited space,” IBM Quantum’s researchers sought to demonstrate the advantages quantum computers have over classical computers.
In order to answer the question “How does the computational power differ when a computer has access to classical scratch space versus quantum scratch space?” the researchers set up an experiment using circuits restricted to using two-input gates and limited to using one bit of computational/scrap space.
The researchers from IBM then demonstrated in their study that there are some functions that a restricted classical computer cannot compute but that a restricted quantum computer can compute in their research. A actual quantum computer was used in this experiment, and it was matched against a classical computer.
The researchers equipped the classical computer they used in their experiment with random Boolean gates in order to boost the computing capabilities of the machine. The findings of IBM’s article show that even with access to this randomness, the classical computer was only able to succeed 87.5 percent of the time, while the findings of the paper show that a flawless, noiseless quantum computer would be able to succeed 100% of the time.
In spite of the fact that today’s quantum computers are too noisy to achieve this level of perfection in simulations, IBM Quantum’s researchers were successful in beating the classical system by calibrating special entangling gates to perform these circuits more efficiently in real-world experiments, resulting in a success rate of 93 percent.