Team ulaunch unveils and explains the future of technology: Quantum computing.
The laws of traditional physics as we see around us do not work at a quantum level. The systems that obey the laws of quantum physics have certain states, which are supremely counter-intuitive: particles in a quantum system do not behave like we expect them to. Quantum Computing seeks to take advantage of these to usher in the next generation of computers.
What is Quantum Computing?
Quantum Computing is the generation and manipulation of quantum systems called “quantum bits” or “qubits” to perform tasks that are tedious even for the largest supercomputers on the planet.
How is quantum computing different from traditional computing?
A traditional computer uses long strings of “bits”, which encodes 0s and 1s to represent data. A quantum computer leverages qubits for the same purpose. However, while 1 bit can encode only 1 state at a time, a qubit can encode 4 states simultaneously. This results in an exponential increase in computing speed, which comes in handy for lengthier calculations.
How does a quantum computer work?
A quantum computer works due to mainly three properties of qubits.
Superposition is the ability of a quantum system to be in multiple states at a time, that is, something can be here and there, up and down simultaneously. To make a classical analogy, if you play two musical notes at once, what you will hear is a superposition of the two notes.
Entanglement is a famous quantum phenomenon describing behaviour we don’t expect to see around us. Entangled particles behave together as a system in ways that cannot be explained using intuitive logic. If we have two or more quantum particles, entanglement between them implies that we cannot describe any of these particles independent of the others; we can only describe them together.
Quantum interference can be understood similarly to wave interference. The wave nature of a quantum particle can cause it to interfere with itself or with other quantum particles, resulting in a change in the expected behaviour of all particles involved in interference.
What are some of the areas where quantum computing comes in handy?
- Cybersecurity: Quantum computing develops cybersecurity by leaps and bounds through its ability to factorize large numbers—the crux of RSA encryption.
- Scientific Simulation: Quantum computing can generate and process simulations ideal for scientific research. Therefore, areas like drug discovery and development, environment-friendly fertilizer creation, and electronic materials discovery stand to gain a lot from it.
- Financial Modelling: Due to high computing power, quantum computers would be helpful in crunching large numbers in the finance industry.
- Machine Learning: Quantum computing also aids tasks like traffic optimization, weather forecasting and climate change, and artificial intelligence.
What are the external conditions required for current quantum computers?
In order to work with qubits for extended periods of time, they must be kept very cold, that is, at a temperature near absolute zero: −273.15°C.
What are some of the institutions working on quantum computing technology right now?
Quantum computing technology is on the rise in the hands of many Western institutions:
- IBM Q System One
- Google Quantum AI
- Microsoft Quantum Programme
- Rigetti Computing, Berkeley, California
The quantum revolution is already underway, and the possibilities that lie ahead are limitless. We are only at the start of discovering its potential.
To know about cybercrimes in the current computing scenario, read “Shedding Light on Nidhi Razdan Phishing Scam and Cyber Crime in India”.
Researched and written by Dharshan V, Team ulaunch.
Consultant: Prateek Chawla, Senior Research Fellow, Theoretical Physics, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.