Quantum computing is a new generation of technology that involves a type of computer that is 158 million times faster than the world’s most sophisticated supercomputer. It is a device so powerful that it can complete in four minutes what a traditional supercomputer would take 10,000 years to complete.
For decades, our computers have been based on the same design. Whether it’s the massive machines at NASA or your laptop, they’re all just glorified calculators that can only do one thing at a time.
The key to how all computers operate is that they process and store information in binary digits known as bits. These bits can only have one of two values: one or zero. According to the book Fundamentals of Computers, these numbers generate binary code, which a computer must read to perform a specific task.
What Exactly Is Quantum Computing?
According to Documenta Mathematica, quantum theory is a branch of physics that deals with the microscopic world of atoms and the smaller (subatomic) particles within them. The laws of physics in this little world are very different from what we see around us. Quantum particles, for example, can exist in multiple states at the same time. This is referred to as superposition.
Instead of bits, quantum computers use quantum bits or ‘qubits’ for short. According to a paper published at the IEEE International Conference on Big Data, a qubit can be a one, a zero, or both simultaneously. In contrast, a traditional bit can only be a one or a zero.
This means that a quantum computer does not have to wait for one process to finish before starting another; it can do both simultaneously.
Assume you had a bunch of locked doors except one, and you needed to figure out which one was open.
For example, a traditional computer would try each door one by one until it found the one that was unlocked. It could take five minutes or a million years, depending on how many doors there were. On the other hand, a quantum computer could try all the doors at once. This is why they are so much faster.
In addition to superposition, quantum particles exhibit another strange behaviour known as entanglement, making this technology potentially revolutionary. When two quantum particles become entangled, they form a connection regardless of how far apart they are. When you change one, the other follows suit — even if they’re thousands of miles apart. According to the journal Nature, Einstein referred to this particle property as “spooky action at a distance.”
In addition to speed, quantum computers have a size advantage over traditional computers. According to the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, computing power doubles roughly every two years, according to Moore’s Law. However, engineers must pack more and more transistors onto a circuit board to do so. A transistor is similar to a microscopic light switch that can be turned on or off. This is how a computer interprets a zero or a one in binary code.
More transistors are required to solve more complex problems. However, no matter how small you make them, you can only fit so many on a circuit board.
So, what does this imply? According to the Young Scientists Journal, traditional computers will eventually be as bright as we can make them. That is where quantum machines can make a difference.
The race to build quantum computers has become global, with some of the world’s largest companies and governments vying to push the technology further, prompting a surge in interest in quantum computing stocks on the financial markets.
WHY IS QUANTUM COMPUTING REQUIRED?
Standard computers can do what they are told if a human feeds them the correct computer programme. However, they are not particularly adept at forecasting events. This is why weather forecasts aren’t always accurate. There are many variables, and many things are changing far too quickly for any traditional computer to keep up.
Because of their limitations, an ordinary computer may never be able to solve some computations, or it may take billions of years. It’s not very useful if you need a quick prediction or piece of analysis.
According to Rigetti Computing research, a quantum computer is so fast, almost infinitely fast, that it can quickly respond to changing information and simultaneously examine infinite outcomes and permutations.
Quantum computers are also small because they do not use transistors like traditional computers. In theory, they also use less power, which means they may be better for the environment.