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Google launches $5M challenge to find practical uses of quantum computing in the real world


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Image: XPRIZE

 

In a groundbreaking move, Google Quantum AI, in collaboration with XPRIZE and the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), has launched a $5 million global competition. The aim of this three-year challenge is to generate quantum computing algorithms and applications that can be put into practice to help solve real-world challenges.

 

Quantum computers have been known to solve certain problems faster than any ordinary computer. However, these problems have not had any practical use so far. This competition is an effort to change that. The winning algorithms could solve an existing problem, like finding a new battery electrolyte that vastly improves storage capacity. But it doesn’t need to solve the problem in practice. Instead, researchers just need to show how an algorithm could be applied, detailing the exact quantum computing specifications required.

 

 

The prize will judge entrants’ algorithms on a range of criteria. These include how large their impact could be, whether they tackle problems similar to those outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and how feasibly they can be run on machines that are available now or in the near future. The total prize fund of $5 million will be split into a grand prize of $3 million shared between up to three winners, $1 million shared between at most five runners-up, and $50,000 for each of 20 semi-finalists.

 

This initiative could help shift the focus of quantum computing researchers from looking at technical definitions of quantum advantage, like those demonstrated by Google or IBM, to real-world uses. As Nicolás Quesada at Montreal Polytechnic in Canada puts it, "We need to figure out what to do with a quantum computer".

 

As we delve deeper into the realm of quantum computing, one can’t help but wonder: What kind of revolutionary changes could the winning algorithms bring about in our world? How might they reshape our understanding of technology and its potential? We invite you to share your thoughts on this exciting development.

 

 

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