“[A] 100-logical-qubit quantum computer [could do a certain analysis in hours or days,] a conventional supercomputer [in] billions of years.”



Dr Svore and her colleagues are also making estimates of how many qubits, and minutes, would be needed to crack specific problems. She says the numbers are “down dramatically”, thanks to recent improvements in keeping qubits under tighter control. For example, she reckons that a thorough analysis of the energy-intensive nitrogenase reaction to make fertiliser would take a 100-logical-qubit quantum computer hours or perhaps days, whereas a conventional supercomputer would need billions of years. The prize might be a cut of 1-2% in global natural-gas consumption.

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