PQI2020 Public Lecture: Scott Aaronson

Dr. Scott J. Aaronson, David J. Bruton Centennial Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin, gave the PQI2020 Public Lecture.

Last fall, a team at Google announced the first-ever demonstration of "quantum computational supremacy"---that is, a clear quantum speedup over a classical computer for some task---using a 53-qubit programmable superconducting chip called Sycamore. In addition to engineering, Google's accomplishment built on a decade of research in quantum complexity theory. This talk will discuss questions like: what exactly was the contrived problem that Google solved? How does one verify the outputs using a classical computer? And how confident are we that the problem is classically hard---especially in light of subsequent counterclaims by IBM? He'll end with a proposed application for Google's experiment---namely, the generation of certified random bits, for use (for example) in proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies---that he has been developing and that Google is now working to demonstrate.