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Google quantum computer opens door to next US-China battle

A billion times faster, milestone brings transformative technology closer to reality

Quantum computers, like Google's Sycamore system, may eventually be able to break data encryption methods that standard computers cannot. (Photo courtesy of Google/NASA)

TOKYO -- A recent breakthrough in quantum computing by Google has put a spotlight on the global competition to harness a technology that has the potential to upend foundations of today's digital world, including algorithms that play a crucial role in keeping data secure.

In a paper published Wednesday, scientists at the American tech giant said they had used a quantum computer to perform in just a few minutes a task that would take thousands of years with a traditional supercomputer -- making the quantum system 1.5 to 2 billion times faster.

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