Guo Guoping, Deputy Director of the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information, Chinese Academy of Sciences: "The world will enter the era of 'quantity-super-intelligence' three-computing integration"

Source: Global Times

Editor's note: On the occasion of the 8th National Science and Technology Workers Day, the Global Times launched a series of reports on "Approaching Frontier Science and Technology", which will conduct interviews with well-known scientists at home and abroad, visit scientific research institutes and laboratories in various fields to popularize the development of cutting-edge science and technology in multiple dimensions and promote the spirit of scientists.

Not long ago, China's independent superconducting quantum computer manufacturing chain announced in Hefei that it was basically completed. The Global Times interview team recently visited Origin Quantum, the first quantum computing company in China to officially promote quantum computing to the commercial field, and interviewed Professor Guo Guoping, the main person in charge of the "Origin Wukong" development team and deputy director of the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"China's quantum computing starts from standing"

Hefei High-tech Zone has an east-west Yunfei Road, where the future industry of quantum information has come to fruition: here are many domestic leading enterprises in the field of quantum science and technology, such as Guodun Quantum, Origin Quantum, Guoyi Quantum, etc., the world's first quantum science experiment satellite "Micius", the first quantum secure communication network "Beijing-Shanghai trunk line", and the first optical quantum computer were born in this quantum technology industry belt, so it is also known as "Quantum Avenue".

As soon as they met, Guo Guoping told a story to the Global Times reporter: 21 years ago, China's first quantum computing research team was established in an abandoned classroom at the University of Science and Technology of China, when there was only one table and one chair in the classroom. It can be said that China's quantum computing started from standing. ”

Quantum computing is a type of computing based on the principles of quantum mechanics that uses qubits instead of binary bits in traditional computers. If a binary bit is like a stationary coin that can only be in two states, heads up or tails (0 or 1), then a qubit is a spinning coin that can be in both states at the same time. When two qubits become entangled, they act like telepathic twins, and no matter how far apart, a change in state of one qubit instantly affects the other. This allows quantum computers not only to speed up operations, but also to transform certain problems that are difficult to solve on electronic computers, such as large factorization, into solvable problems. The computing power of a quantum computer is to a traditional computer what the computing power of a traditional computer is to the abacus of the past.

At that time, the research team from the University of Science and Technology of China had realized that quantum computing is the key to the next generation of information technology, which not only has the ability to solve complex problems that traditional computing cannot cope, but also penetrates into other industries and empowers the industries involved, and promotes the upgrading of the industrial level, which will have a far-reaching impact on science and technology, economy and national security. The United States has already carried out research on quantum computing, and China's quantum computing research must start immediately, otherwise it will be deterred by other countries' quantum deterrence in the future, "Quantum technology is not only the frontier of scientific research, but also the key to the future development of the country." Guo Guoping said.

In the past 21 years, Guo Guoping's team has reproduced the classical quantum Hall effect in domestic experiments, so as to master the extremely low temperature and extremely weak signal measurement technology of semiconductor nanodevices, laying an important technical foundation for the subsequent development of quantum chips and quantum computing, and has successively completed semiconductor-based single-bit, two-bit, and three-bit quantum computing, achieving a breakthrough in China. In order to develop an engineered quantum computer that can be used interactively by users, Guo Guoping and his teacher Guo Guangcan led a team of doctors in the laboratory to jointly found a quantum computing company - Origin Quantum, and independently developed quantum computing equipment and technology, which are all integrated on the "Origin Wukong", making the mainland the third country in the world with the ability to deliver quantum computers.

"The quantum computer manufacturing chain is connected to scientific and technological innovation at one end and new quality productivity at the other." Guo Guoping believes that at present, the field of science and technology is also facing great changes unseen in a century, standing at such a historic moment, it is very important to seize the opportunity of change, who first grasps who can grasp the initiative in the competition.

How to view the development stage of quantum computing in China and abroad

"With the development of quantum computing, a wide variety of problems will be handled more accurately. In the future, everyone will have access to customized medicines, medical treatment, and food, and the exchange of information between people will become more efficient with the help of quantum computing. When asked about his vision for the future of quantum computing, Guo Guoping said.

According to him, from simulating complex physical systems to optimizing large-scale combinatorial problems, from accelerating drug research and development to improving information security, the new generation of computing systems built by quantum computing is expected to bring revolutionary changes to the current business pattern in the fields of intelligent manufacturing, financial analysis, new material research and development, biomedicine, and the Internet of Things. "Quantum computers are the 'battleground' of the current international science and technology track." Guo Guoping said that at present, the development of quantum information technology in the mainland is in the first echelon in the world, China's third-generation superconducting quantum computer "Origin Wukong" is equipped with 72-bit independent superconducting quantum chip "Wukong Core", a total of 198 qubits (an important indicator to measure the performance of quantum computers, the more qubits, the stronger the computing power of quantum computers), is currently China's most advanced programmable, deliverable superconducting quantum computer. Since the launch of "Origin Wukong" in January this year, the machine has attracted more than 9.53 million visits from 124 countries and regions around the world, and successfully completed more than 231,000 computing tasks.

Guo Guoping, Deputy Director of the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information, Chinese Academy of Sciences: "The world will enter the era of 'quantity-super-intelligence' three-computing integration"

Quantum chip production line. Photo by Chen Tao

Guo Guoping said that if the life of human beings is compared with the cycle of the development of quantum information technology in the mainland, the current quantum computer technology is in the infancy of about seven or eight years old. It took only 4 years for Continental to successfully develop the first-generation Kuafu 6-bit superconducting quantum chip KF C6-130 in 2020 to the third-generation 72-bit Kuafu KF C72-300 in 2024.

In February last year, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute released a report saying that the United States is only ahead of China in the field of quantum computing in the four major areas of quantum technology, including quantum computing, quantum encryption, quantum communication and quantum sensing, but China's recent results show that the United States' advantage is shrinking.

Talking about the gap between China and foreign countries, Guo Guoping emphasized that it is necessary to look at the development of quantum computing in China rationally. From the perspective of the overall development ecology of quantum computers, the development ecology of quantum computers in the United States is better than that of the mainland. On the one hand, quantum information, including quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum precision measurement, is not the first to be put forward by China. However, the measurement and control system in quantum computing will still use traditional chip components, which will affect the research and development of quantum computing itself when the foundation is relatively weak. On the other hand, the development of quantum computing can be divided into three stages: scientific research, engineering and industrialization. Overseas technology giants such as IBM, Microsoft, and Google have successively released quantum computing roadmaps to drive the development of the quantum computing industry. When China entered the engineering stage, the United States entered the industrialization stage, forming a "two-way drive" for R&D and application. From the perspective of industry ecology, the leading quantum computing enterprises in the United States, led by IBM, have taken the lead in establishing the international mainstream quantum computing industry alliance, and more than 230 enterprises from all walks of life from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Australia and other countries have participated in it, forming a quantum computing ecosystem that excludes China.

What are the new trends in the future of quantum computing?

Under the current international background, the development of independent quantum computer industry chain has become one of the major needs of the mainland. On May 6, local time, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listed quantum technology as one of the six most important general "foundational" technologies related to U.S. national competitiveness and national security in his speech on "Technology and the Transformation of U.S. Foreign Policy", and emphasized that the United States is preparing for the future of quantum computing.

Three days after the speech, the U.S. Department of Commerce added 37 Chinese entities to its list of trade restrictions on the grounds of so-called "threats to national security."

"The quantum technology industry is definitely not a family name thing, nor is it a small team thing, China's quantum computer research and development from the beginning must have the awareness of building an ecosystem, which requires the integration and cooperation of a variety of different disciplines and different industrial directions." Guo Guoping emphasized.

He told the Global Times that quantum computing out of the lab is a two-way driven process between users and the market. In specific application fields, such as finance, meteorology, drug research and development, energy, big data, code breaking, etc., quantum computing can achieve acceleration, and basically all scenarios that require large-scale computing power are specific application scenarios of quantum computing. "Quantum computing also needs these scenarios to accelerate technological advances. At present, the iterative progress of quantum technology in China is limited by the limited application scenarios, and we are also expanding the scenarios through cooperation with the Supercomputing Center. Guo Guoping said.

Up to now, "Origin Wukong" has been invited to successfully access 3 supercomputing centers. Previously, Origin Quantum, together with the Shanghai Supercomputing Center, the National Supercomputing Zhengzhou Center and the China Mobile Cloud Competence Center, jointly established a large-scale hyper-converged advanced computing platform, and successfully connected to the "Origin Wukong" quantum computer. In April this year, "Origin Wukong" officially entered the national supercomputing Internet platform.

Guo Guoping, Deputy Director of the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information, Chinese Academy of Sciences: "The world will enter the era of 'quantity-super-intelligence' three-computing integration"

China's third-generation autonomous superconducting quantum computer "Origin Wukong". Photo by Chen Tao

At present, countries around the world are accelerating the collaborative work of quantum computers and supercomputers (known as "mass hyperconvergence"). "Quantum computers and supercomputers are like aircraft carriers and cruisers in an aircraft carrier task force, supercomputers can handle work that quantum computers are not good at, and quantum computers can be used to accelerate complex computing tasks, and the two will produce stronger combat power when combined." He said.

Guo Guoping said: "In the next five years, the world will enter the era of 'quantity-super-intelligence' three-computing integration. If an ordinary computer is compared to a 'rifle', then the intelligent computing power with artificial intelligence is a 'cannon', and the quantum computer is like a 'missile'. The synergy of the three will be the ultimate form of computing power in the future, and we are working in this direction. ”

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