For the first time ever, a quantum computer has performed a computational task that would be essentially impossible for a conventional computer to complete, according to a team from Google. Scientists and engineers from the company’s lab in Santa Barbara announced the milestone in a report published Wednesday in the journal Nature. They said their machine was able to finish its job in just 200 seconds — and that the world’s most powerful supercomputers would need 10,000 years to accomplish the same task. The task itself, which involved executing a randomly chosen sequence of instructions, does not have any particular practical uses. But experts say the achievement is still significant as a demonstration of the future promise of quantum computing. (Bruno Coelho/Dreamstime/TNS)
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