Google took a step further in the practical application of quantum computers and simulated, for the first time in history, a chemical reaction using a device of this type. Since atoms and molecules are governed by systems like this, equipment may be the best option for us to understand what happens in their interactions.
Using quantum bits, also called qubits, to store information and perform calculations, such devices had, until then, difficulties in achieving the necessary precision for the task. However, a team of researchers from the company managed to accomplish the feat with Sycamore, a supercomputer that reached quantum supremacy in 2019 by solving, in 200 seconds, an issue that the world’s fastest machine would take 10,000 years to solve.
“It’s a fundamentally different scale,” says Ryan Babbush, Google’s leader in quantum algorithms. “The main job was to solve calculations that could be done with paper and a pen, but the results we arrived at would certainly require a computer.”
Future of quantum computing
In the study, a reaction was simulated in which hydrogen atoms move in different configurations around hydrogen atoms present in a diazene compound, a molecule that carries two of the first and one of the second. To attest to the veracity of the results, they were compared with those of simulations performed on classic computers. It worked.
Although it is basic, Ryan explains that evolving to more complex applications, from now on, will be easier, which will only require more qubits and small calculation adjustments. “Someday, we may be able to develop new chemicals through quantum simulations”, he concludes.
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