What is Quantum Computing and How Does it Work?

What is Quantum Computing and How Does it Work?
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What Is Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing is a branch of computing that focuses on developing computer technology based on quantum theory principles (which explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels). Computers today can only encode information in bits that have a value of 1 or 0, severely limiting their capabilities.


Quantum computing, on the other hand, makes use of quantum bits, also known as qubits. It takes advantage of subatomic particles’ unique ability to exist in more than one state (i.e., a 1 and a 0 at the same time).

Some notes:

  • Quantum computing is the study of how to use quantum physics phenomena to create new ways of computing.
  • Qubits are the building blocks of quantum computing.
  • In contrast to a standard computer bit, which can only be 0 or 1, a qubit can be either of those or a superposition of both 0 and 1.
  • The power of quantum computers grows exponentially as the number of qubits increases.
  • Unlike traditional computers, which add power linearly as more transistors are added, this is not the case with quantum computers.

Understanding Quantum Computing

These supercomputers are based on two aspects of quantum physics: superposition and entanglement. This enables quantum computers to perform operations at exponentially faster speeds and with far less energy consumption than conventional computers.


In the 1980s, the field of quantum computing was born. It was later discovered that quantum algorithms could solve certain computational problems more efficiently than their classical counterparts.

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Finance, military affairs and intelligence, drug design and discovery, aerospace design, utilities (nuclear fusion), polymer design, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data search, and digital manufacturing could all benefit greatly from quantum computing.

Because of its potential and projected market size, IBM, Microsoft, Google, D-Waves Systems, Alibaba, Nokia, Intel, Airbus, HP, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, SK Telecom, NEC, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Rigetti, Biogen, Volkswagen, and Amgen have all expressed interest in working in the field of quantum computing.


Quantum Computer vs. Classical Computer

Quantum computers process information in a unique way. Traditional computers make use of transistors, which are either 1 or 0. Qubits, which can be 1 or 0 at the same time, are used in quantum computers. The number of qubits linked together exponentially increases quantum computing power. Meanwhile, connecting more transistors increases power only linearly.

Classical computers are ideal for everyday tasks that require the assistance of a computer. In the meantime, quantum computers are ideal for running simulations and data analyses, such as those used in chemical or drug trials. However, these computers must be kept extremely cold. They are also significantly more expensive and difficult to construct.

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Adding memory to computers is an example of a traditional computing advancement. Meanwhile, quantum computers aid in the resolution of more complex problems. While quantum computers cannot run Microsoft Word better or faster, they can solve complex problems more quickly.


For example, Google’s in-development quantum computer could aid in a variety of processes, such as speeding up machine-learning training or creating more energy-efficient batteries.

Quantum computing has a variety of other applications, including secure information sharing. Other methods include fighting cancer and other health issues, as well as developing new drugs. Quantum computers can also help improve radars and their ability to detect missiles and aircraft. Other areas of interest include the environment and the use of quantum computing to keep water clean using chemical sensors.

Real-World Example of a Quantum Computer

Google (GOOG) is planning to invest billions of dollars in the development of a quantum computer by 2029. To help it achieve its goal, Google AI has opened a campus in California. For years, Google has been investing in this technology. Other companies, such as Honeywell International (HON) and International Business Machines, have followed suit (IBM). IBM anticipates significant quantum computing milestones in the coming years.


While some companies have built personal (albeit expensive) quantum computers, there is currently nothing commercially available. There is also interest in quantum computing and its technology, with JPMorgan Chase and Visa looking into it. Google could launch a quantum computing service via the cloud once it has been developed.

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Companies can also gain access to quantum technology without building a quantum computer. IBM intends to have a 1,000-quibit quantum computer operational by 2023. For the time being, IBM allows access to its machines if they are part of the Quantum Network. The network’s members include research organizations, universities, and laboratories.

Microsoft’s Azure Quantum platform also provides businesses with access to quantum technology. In contrast, Google does not sell access to its quantum computers.


How Fast is a Quantum Computer?

A quantum computer is many orders of magnitude faster than a traditional computer or even a supercomputer. Google’s quantum computer, Sycamore, is said to have completed a calculation seconds that would take 10,000 years to complete on one of the world’s fastest computers, IBM’s Summit. IBM refutes this claim, claiming that it would take 2.5 days, which is still more than 1,000 times slower than Google’s quantum machine.

Conclusion

Quantum computing differs from classical computing in terms of how it works and what it is used for. Quantum computing employs qubits, which can be either 1 or 0, whereas classical computers employ transistors, which can only be 1 or 0. As a result, quantum computing has become significantly more powerful and can be used for big data analysis or simulations. However, no commercially developed quantum computer has yet been developed.


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