Paul van Gerven
27 October 2021

University of Twente (UT) researcher Jelmer Renema contributed to the latest effort of proving quantum computers can outdo classical computers. Teams from the University of Science and Technology of China put together a photonics-based quantum computer to solve a problem with 1043 outcomes by sorting through the options 1024 times faster than a supercomputer. Renema supported this effort with theoretical insights.

Other research teams, such as Google’s, already claimed to have reached quantum supremacy. However, this has led to debates whether the quantum computation involved was truly beyond the reach of classical computers. Maybe the latter can keep up when using better algorithms, for example.

Photonic quantum computer
Credit: Chao-Yang Lu/University of Science and Technology of China

One way to convince skeptics is to increase the size of the computational problem. According to Barry Sanders from the University of Calgary, who wasn’t involved in the research, the latest results “are an impressive advance over the state-of-the-art and make it increasingly unlikely that there could be efficient classical algorithmic alternatives for this problem.”

Renema is a researcher at the UT’s Adaptive Quantum Optics group. He’s also co-founder and CTO of startup Quix Quantum, which is developing a quantum processor based in integrated photonics. The Chinese researchers used discrete components to build their photonic quantum computer.