Scientists have conducted a series of experiments that, for the first time ever, displayed two quantum computing devices, developed using dissimilar underlying technologies, execute the same algorithms to open up which would win.
The qubits which are the quantum equivalent of binary bits in IBM’s chip are manufactured from superconducting metals, while the University of Maryland’s makes use of electromagnetic fields to trap ytterbium ions.
The experiment was turned into reality because of the two chips, which used different underlying physics, still, both executed the same algorithms in the same way. Also, the IBM has opened its chip up, to allow it to be programmed online by researchers, the University of Maryland team was capable of giving it the same challenge as its own device.
In the end, the IBM device was much faster but it was less reliable. This happened because the University of Maryland device uses qubits which are all interconnected, which indicates that they can all share information with each other. While the IBM’s device requires swapping information via a central hub, and that process can result in delicate quantum states being destroyed.
These chips are still moderate in terms of power, and the results do not still prove that one of the two technologies will roll out. But this ability to compare directly their capabilities will become even more beneficial in the future, as researchers seek to cut down a broad field of competing for quantum approaches to search for the best.
In the past, quantum computers have been pitted against regular hardware, instead of their quantum rivals. Notably, D-Wave’s disputed device has been tested against normal silicon processors on various occasions, and it was very fast in performing the handful of specific tasks.
As Science studies, the results of the new test are perhaps less surprising than their symbolic nature. Earlier it was not possible to directly compare the performance of the quantum devices in this manner. The fact that it is possible today is another sign of its development and it is closer to reality.