By developing high-performance non-classical light sources and multi-photon interference, Jian-Wei Pan and his colleague Chao-Yang Lu together with their team have implemented boson sampling with up to 76 photons out of a 100-mode interferometer, which yields a Hilbert state space dimension of 10^30 and a rate that is 10^14 faster than using the state-of-the-art simulation strategy on supercomputers.

The demonstration of quantum computational advantage is the computational analog of Bell experiments. Just as Bell’s experiments refute Einstein’s local hidden variable models, Pan’s experiment refutes the Extended Church-Turing thesis, which asserts that classical computers can simulate the computational power of any physical process with polynomial overhead. Pan’s experiment has profound implications both for foundational reasons (because quantum mechanics is so far the only physical theory to change our model of computing) and for practical reasons (because it would greatly increase our confidence in the eventual feasibility of large-scale quantum computing.

Tags: Quantum Computational Advantage using Photons, Bell Experiment, Quantum Computing.