It’s not what you’d expect to find on the 29th floor of a Toronto office building. Instead of cubicles, a complex arrangement of lasers, mirrors and optical fibres run from floor to ceiling, making up the quantum computer called Borealis.
And Borealis recently hit a milestone by solving a colossal math problem.
“If we ran [the problem] on the most powerful supercomputer out there, it would take 9,000 years. For Borealis, it takes less than a second, which is quite incredible,” says Christian Weedbrook, CEO of Xanadu, the company that built Borealis.
Weedbrook said it’s just the third time a quantum computer has tackled something out of reach for an ordinary computer, a scenario called quantum advantage. The first time was by Google in 2019, the second by a team of Chinese researchers in 2020. Xanadu’s achievement was published earlier this summer in the magazine Nature.