Our smartphones have processing power over a million times greater than the computer room which launched the first rocket into space. Our phones and computers have the ability to do things that people from mere decades ago deemed unrealistic, unachievable within their lifetimes. Our outlook may be similar in the sense that we don’t fully grasp the cusp of what computing has in store. Quantum computing has recently emerged, which may once again revolutionize our understanding of what a computer is capable of, and achieve what is considered unachievable through the tiny thing called qubit.

## Quantum Computing Set To Solve Problems That Classical Computers Cannot Handle

Computer technology has advanced so that memory units of computers are now close to the size of an atom, there is a new idea about building computers since the downscaling size is reached a physical minimum. Fundamentally, classical computers are just computing 1 and 0, equivalent to on and off switches. As big data increases, more need 1 and 0 processing, hence limited 1 thing at a time. Quantum computing is expected to solve problems that classical computers cannot.

### Rules For Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is based on quantum science, building on and exploiting the physics principles of superposition and quantum entanglement. Rules for quantum physics run on radically different principles compared to our macroscopic observation of how the world works. Physicists are unable to rationally explain the concepts, such as the quantum particles’ ability to be in two places at the same time, or move forward and backward in time, essentially ‘teleporting’, referred to as ‘quantum tunneling’.

### Science Fiction Coming True Because Of Quantum Computers

These concepts are categorized into science fiction but are a reality at the quantum level. Therefore, quantum computers harnessing these physical principles allow them to transcend functionality to a level we cannot fully understand. Google has estimated that Quantum computers will be 100 million times faster than traditional computers.

## Qubits A Crucial Component That Elevates The Computing

Fundamentally, the quantum computers have evolved the traditional classical computer ‘bit’, into ‘quantum bits’, referred to as ‘qubits’. In terms of binary, the ‘bit’ is either set to 1 or 0, however, the ‘qubits’ has the ability to be set to 1 or 0, attributed to quantum mechanics, 1 and 0 at the same time. The adaptation of quantum mechanics principles is responsible for the cutting edge in processing power. Being 1 and 0 simultaneously allows the computer to do a myriad of tasks at the same time.

### How To Explain The Mechanism Easily?

Comprehending, or explaining the mechanisms at play, without using a myriad of scientific jargon is not easy. However, computation is performed by manipulating the qubits, through quantum logic gates. Logic gates examine relationships between input binary states, to open or shut, based on a certain logic for the relationship between the inputs. The logic gates act similar to classical computer logic gates, however differ in the sense that they are reversible.

Furthermore, to add to the complication of qubits, they are prone to ‘quantum decoherence’, which is if they are in different quantum states. The intricacy and complexity are difficult to comprehend, let along conceive, orchestrate, and build.

### Are Quantum Information Unhackable?

Since quantum information cannot be transduced, based on quantum theory, it makes information unhackable. Encryption is based on probabilistic physics, thus hacking information would violate physics laws that cannot be broken. Classical computers use encryption based on mathematical algorithmic techniques, therefore, hacking is possible.

## Development Of Quantum Computation

Headway emerged in quantum computing only recently. On October 23rd, 2019, United States NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), alongside Google AI, claimed to have performed quantum computation, based around Schrödinger-type simulation, which was deemed unachievable on a classical computer. Schrödinger-type simulation is related to simulating quantum matter, in terms of their wave-like properties and density in space and time.

A paper released, following the feat, stated “*a state-of-the-art supercomputer would require approximately 10,000 years to perform the equivalent task*”. This claim was due to RAM memory requirements for classical computers.

The gravity of this milestone in computing was related to the Wright brothers’ first flights. University of California Mathematician, Greg Kuperberg, stated that the development was “*a big step toward kicking away any plausible argument that making a quantum computer is impossible*”. Google announced that the quantum computer is more than 100 million times faster than any other classical computer.

### Quantum Computing In The Age Of Big Data

During the age of big data, processing power is imperative to more growth. 2.5 exabytes of data are produced every day, equivalent to data stored across 5 million computers.

However, a Google blog post, written by Hartmut Neven, said “*While these results are intriguing and very encouraging, there is more work ahead to turn quantum enhanced optimization into a practical technology*”.

## Fundamental Challenges Of Quantum Computing

Needless to say, building quantum computers is difficult, with fundamental challenges. Compared to bits, qubits are extremely fragile, thus any disturbance loses the data, and destroys quantum states required for computation.

Therefore quantum computers are encased in a cooled arena to operate smoothly. D-Wave Systems created a quantum computer prototype, encasing it at -273.33 degrees Celsius. Given that absolute zero is -273.15 degrees Celsius, the point where all particles stop moving, it removes all the disorder and chaos of the quantum world.

### Balancing Act Between Interaction And Isolation

Furthermore, challenges are present pertaining to the balancing act between interaction and isolation of qubits. The qubits require entanglement, and to be shuffled within physical architecture, in order to operate computerized algorithms.

Emerging designs are the Quantum circuit model, an adiabatic quantum computer (Analog), quantum Turing machine.

In general, quantum computing will immensely assist in security, and optimization, being key figures in everything from the financial industry to military defense applications.

## The Applications Of Quantum Computing

Quantum computing can be used to simulate molecular activity, for chemical or pharmaceutical applications, from drug testing or protein engineering. It operates on the same laws of probabilistic physics, such that the molecules and chemicals are, which a classical computer cannot handle.

Daniel Lidar, Scientific Director at Martin Centre for Quantum Computing, said “*it would take many times the age of the universe to try to identify the folded states of a protein, and yet nature can do this in seconds, maybe minutes. It’s had billions of years to think about it”*. Meteorology weather forecasts, and chemical analyses, deal with large quantities of data, fields quantum computing would be applicable.

### Biggest Opportunities Are In Optimization

However, the main field that will drastically improve will be optimization. Optimization is built on outcomes based on efficiency, through large quantities of data, taking classical computer billions of years to compute in some situations. An example could be the postal delivery service, calculating the most efficient distance between thousands of houses for delivery, accounting for predicted traffic, atmospheric expectations, and other accounts based on algorithms. Encryption and security will be radically improved, creating unbreakable codes.

### Acceleration Of Machine Learning

Also, machine learning will accelerate, reducing the time to solve problems from thousands of years to mere seconds. When the IBM Deep Blue computer overcame the chess champion, Garry Kasparov, in 1997, the machine had an advantage due to the algorithmic calculation of 200 million moves each second. However, a quantum computer would be able to calculate 1 trillion moves per second.

It would be expected that a computer with such processing magnitude would require the equivalent increase in electricity to function. However, quantum computers are expected to reduce power consumption from an estimated 100 to 1000 times, since they optimize ‘quantum tunneling’.

### Solving Potential Of Qubit

Qubit utilizes less energy, memory, processing, than a classical computer bit, thus, allowing more complex solving potential. Recent studies predict that by 2030, quantum computing will be a multi-billion dollar industry. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM are all investing in software and hardware quantum computing currently, and this is only expected to rise.

Quantum computing is inspiring a new generation of engineers, physicists, and scientists, to fundamentally change the foundations of computation, and push the frontiers of technology. The landscape of computers is forever changing, with unprecedented momentum.

Thinking the computers ran on ‘magic’ is not much of a stretch of the imagination, considering the microscopic intricacy of machinery, smaller than an atom, where conventional rules do not apply. It’s not far too abstract to consider time travel or teleportation.

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