Tasked with the challenge to build better and better computers, quantum computing and classical computing face the same conundrum: the success of classical computing systems. Small quantum computing systems have been demonstrated, and intermediate-scale systems are on the horizon, capable of calculating numeric results or simulating physical systems far beyond what humans can do by hand. However, to be commercially viable, they must surpass what our wildly successful, highly advanced classical computers can already do. At the same time, those classical computers continue to advance, but those advances are now constrained by thermodynamics, and will soon be limited by the discrete nature of atomic matter and ultimately quantum effects. Technological advances benefit both quantum and classical machinery, altering the competitive landscape. Can we build quantum computing systems that out-compute classical systems capable of some 1030 logic gates per month? This article will discuss the interplay in these competing and cooperating technological trends.
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