The Importance of Quantum Supremacy


Spencer Stepp, staff writer

You all thought that we were done with the science articles, but here’s a short but sweet tidbit about an incredibly important yet overlooked accomplishment in human history, quantum supremacy. So what is quantum supremacy? Well first you have to understand the difference between a quantum computer and a regular computer, say your school laptop.

We can all agree that regular computers use a mathematical language called binary to function. Binary is a code that is made up of sequences of ones and zeros in order to function. Thus, a normal or classical computer would manipulate these ones and zeros in order to solve different equations. However a quantum computer is slightly different. Quantum computers don’t use binary; instead they use a language made of quantum bits, more commonly known as qubits. Qubits are unique in the fact that they can exist in a state called superposition that allows them to exist as both a one and a zero at the same time. This results in it being able to process data much faster and more efficiently than a classical computer.

Now, quantum supremacy is defined as the precise moment that a quantum computer completes or solves a problem that would take a classical computer much longer, possibly an infinite amount of time. This milestone marks a new era of human achievement in that we have made a computer that can solve previously unsolvable equations.

So why is this important? For one thing quantum computers use up to 1000 times less energy than any conventional supercomputer does. This can also speed up our seemingly imminent progression towards artificial intelligence exponentially. And finally, this saves us years and years of research and calculations with problems that may have taken four decades to solve now being solved in a matter of minutes.

This is why when Google announced that they had successfully reached quantum supremacy back in October of 2019, it was essentially the equivalent of a modern day moon landing or a Wright Brothers Flight at Kittyhawk. Whether we know it or not technological change and evolution is right around the corner and apparently may be coming much sooner than we think.