In 2014, Google Quantum AI Lab announced that it had hired John Martinis, one of the world’s foremost experts on quantum computing. Martinis, a physics professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, was allowed to keep his affiliation with the university as he led a group of researchers attempting to develop quantum computing hardware for Google. By the end of this year, Martinis’ group is expected to demonstrate what is known as quantum supremacy: using qubits to solve a problem that would be beyond the reach of the world’s fastest supercomputers. How did we get this far, this fast? The answer is related to how quantum computers work.