There are a lot of articles in the popular press that sensationalizes the advances made in quantum computing and portrays it as something that will cause a complete disruptive change to computing within the near future.  If you read some of the stories, you would believe that Apple will be announcing an iPhone-Q to replace the iPhone-X next year or that quantum computing will make the teleporter from Star Trek a reality.

In fact, we are still at the very beginning of quantum computing development and will take many decades of hard work to fully mature.   Quantum computing will never replace classical computing and may only be evident to the average user who indirectly utilizes it through an application in the cloud.

A lot of headlines have included the term Quantum Supremacy.  It is a great marketing term, but it does tend to convey a wrong impression to the masses.  Quantum Supremacy simply means that someone has been able to find a problem that they were able to solve on a quantum computer that could not be solved on a classical computer.  In fact, many quantum researchers prefer to use the term Quantum Advantage instead of Quantum Supremacy.

Google is working hard to show this with their new 72 qubit chip.  It is likely that within the next few months they will get a system up and running with this chip, run tests, and declare that they have achieved quantum supremacy with on a specific problem.  However, the key thing to remember is that their chosen problem is a made-up problem with no real world application.  Granted, it is a significant achievement, but I think a bigger milestone will be the steps after that when they use their quantum system to solve a real-world problem.

So we should keep in mind that advances in quantum computing will consist of many small steps that will be occurring over the next several decades.  For more of our views on this subject, you can read the analysis we posted a while ago titled What’s After Quantum Supremacy.