Google (GOOG; GOOGLE) has achieved what the company calls a quantum computing milestone, building on a breakthrough in 2019 and setting the stage for what could be a fierce competition between tech companies to develop useful quantum computing applications.
- Google researchers were able to reduce the number of errors in the calculation using quantum bits (qubits).
- The breakthrough is the company’s second milestone in its roadmap to building an error-correcting quantum computer.
- The technological landscape is experiencing seismic shifts with recent developments in quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
Google was first in the field of error correction
Google researchers have shown they can reduce errors in calculations while increasing the number of physical quantum bits (qubits) in a “logical qubit,” the building block of large quantum computers. The researchers first published their findings in a journal Nature on Wednesday.
Quantum computers can perform calculations beyond the limits of traditional computers, but prototypes were prone to high error rates, making them unreliable.
“The error rate of qubits on our 3rd generation Sycamore processor is typically between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 100. Through our work and the work of others, we understand that the development of large-scale quantum computers will require a much lower error rate,” the researchers said in a blog post.
“To this end, we use a specific error-correcting code called a surface code and show for the first time that increasing the size of the code reduces the error rate of a logic qubit,” they added.
The latest breakthrough from Google’s Quantum AI team is the second phase of its six-step plan to build an error-correcting quantum computer, an essential tool for developing scientific and industrial applications for quantum computing.
The computing landscape is changing with new AI technology
The timing of this latest breakthrough is convenient for Google’s parent company Alphabet. Microsoft (MSFT) integration of ChatGPT with its Bing search engine last month and Google’s high-profile Bard chatbot, some wonder if Google will lose the AI arms race.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates predicted this week that the arrival of ChatGPT would hurt Google’s bottom line and shake up tech industry heavyweights like Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN).
“Google owned all of the search profits, so search profits are going to go down and their share of that might go down because Microsoft was able to move pretty quickly on that,” he said on the “In Good Company” podcast. .
Sure, Google Search brought in $162 billion in revenue in 2022, compared to Microsoft’s roughly $12 billion.
AI is also expensive to deploy. John Hennessy, chairman of Alphabet, recently told Reuters that an AI-powered search query would cost Google 10 times more than a standard search.