So it is fitting that Google's claim to have built a quantum computer which dramatically outpaces classical machines, now exists in a simultaneous state between dazzling success and dispiriting non-achievement.
However, technology is still way too fragile for commercialization, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon. However, IBM claims the "performance-enhancing techniques employed" by its own hardware-circuit partitioning, tensor contraction deferral, gate aggregation and batching, other things that might make your head spin-reduces the gap significantly.
However, ex-Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd reassured the confused crypto crowd that Google was nowhere near breaking the top coin's cryptography. Quantum computers require an environment just above absolute zero to operate, so they're not exactly easy to operate and maintain outside of the global tech giants.
We all know that "quantum computers" are far more powerful than the computers used by scientists today.
Google has yet to apply their quantum computer to something "practical", Director of IBM Research Dario Gil pointed out to Cho, a limitation he says might diminish the oomph behind their assertions. While standard computers perform calculations with "bits" which must be either 0 or 1, quantum computers have "qubits" that can take any value between 0 and 1.
"A computation that would take 10,000 years on a classical supercomputer took 200 seconds on our quantum computer", study co-author Brooks Foxen, a graduate student researcher in physics at Google AI Quantum in Mountain View and the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a statement.
A quantum computer, on the other hand, taps into a odd, but fundamental phenomenon in quantum mechanics, where a subatomic particle can occupy several positions all at one time.
They also said Google risked misleading the public by implying the new-style computers would replace existing ones.
The Google team reported it designed a quantum processor that uses 54 qubits. While Sycamore is still quite a bit faster at this benchmark than a supercomputer, it does discredit Google's claim of "quantum supremacy".
But superposition means that a quantum bit, or qubit, isn't confined to being either 0 or 1. This is achieved through some quantum mechanical trickery.
Some immediate applications of quantum computing could be in encryption software and AI, but its calculations could eventually lead to more efficient solar panels, drug design and even quicker and better financial transactions.
But there's a catch: Quantum researchers need to cool the qubits to close to absolute zero to limit vibration - or "noise" - that causes errors to creep into their calculations.
He goes on to say it's the "hello world" moment that people working in the fields of science and technology have been waiting for, and the milestone represents for the world of quantum computing "a moment of possibility".
Media captionWhat is quantum computing? To build an effective quantum computer, scientists must figure out how to create and manipulate entangled qubits that last long enough to actually do something interesting with them.