# Borealis quantum computer performs 9,000 years of calculation in microseconds

#### It is accessible to everyone through Xanadu Cloud or Amazon Braket

Researchers at Canadian firm Xanadu claim to have developed a quantum computer capable of doing a computation in a fraction of a second that would take a traditional computer 9,000 years to finish.

This achievement by Xanadu is the latest to illustrate the superiority of quantum computing over conventional computers for certain tasks — a seemingly simple concept called quantum supremacy or quantum advantage.

Quantum supremacy refers to the notion that a quantum computer can solve tasks that conventional computers cannot perform in a reasonable period of time.

In December 2019, Google claimed quantum supremacy by demonstrating Sycamore, an early quantum computer, which solved a computational challenge in about 200 seconds with 54 qubits, compared to 10,000 years estimated for a conventional supercomputer.

However, IBM, which has a stake in the quantum computing race, vehemently refuted the claim.

Quantum computers vary from classic computers in that they use qubits (quantum bits) as the primary building blocks of computation. Unlike normal binary digits (bits), which can only store one of two values, qubits can store both via superposition.

Qubits must stay 'entangled' with each other for a quantum computer to function correctly, which means that the state of one qubit influences the state of another even though they are physically apart.

The Quantum Processing Unit (QPU) engineered at Xanadu is named Borealis.

In order to solve a problem known as boson sampling, Borealis uses light particles, or photons, which are sent through a network of fibre-optic loops. The process involves measuring the properties of a large group of entangled, or quantum-linked, photons separated by beam splitters.

Ordinary computers have difficulty accomplishing the job of boson sampling because the complexity of the computations significantly increases as the number of photons in the sample grows.

Borealis, however, computes the answer by directly measuring the behaviour of as many as 216 entangled photons.

According to a research paper published in Nature, Borealis accomplished a computing work based on Gaussian Boson sampling (GBS) in only 36 microseconds, while today's algorithms and supercomputers would take 9,000 years to complete the same operation.

"This runtime advantage is over 50 million times as extreme as that reported from earlier photonic machines," according to the researchers.

"Ours constitutes a very large GBS experiment, registering events with up to 219 photons and a mean photon number of 125."

According to Xanadu, Borealis is the world's first photonic quantum computer capable of quantum computing advantage and with complete programmability over all of its gates.

Borealis is now accessible through Xanadu Cloud or Amazon Braket, according to the Canadian firm.