What is Quantum Computing?
Tech giants like IBM, Google, and even governments around the world are investing quintillions in the quantum computing niche. Why you may ask? To solve complex and pressing issues that are unsolvable by conventional computers.
Quantum computing will disrupt every industry by transforming the way organizations safeguard data, fight diseases and even solve climate problems.
Google has recently announced that it has achieved ‘quantum supremacy’ by demonstrating its 54-qubit sycamore processor which is capable of performing an array of complex calculations in 200 seconds. The real feat lies in the fact that it will take around hundreds of years even for the best supercomputer to solve such calculations.
So is all the noise around quantum computing worth it? Let us find out as we dive into different quantum computing aspects that are quickly shaping today’s tech-powered world.
Table of Contents
- What is Quantum Computing?
- What is Qubit?
- What is the superposition state of quantum computing?
- Where is the concept of quantum computing generally used?
- Other use cases of quantum computing
What is Quantum computing?
Quantum computing is an emerging computational paradigm that harnesses the phenomenon of quantum mechanics to solve persisting problems in an array of domains like cryptography, forensics, AI and machine learning, and even computational chemistry. This state-of-the-art computing process uses quantum mechanics. It is typically an area of physics that revolves around the study of atomic and subatomic particles.
Although in real-time, quantum computing faces scalability and incoherency issues, it is instrumental in performing simultaneous calculations at a faster rate, eliminating the tunnel effect that limits the current generation of nanometric scale programming.
Let us now understand the basic unit of information related to quantum computing that is capable of such feats.
What is a Qubit?
Quantum computing uses a basic unit of information called the Qubit rather than a conventional bit. The main characteristic of a Qubit (that it makes it remarkable) is that it can represent both zero and one or any proportion of zero and one. Conventional bits, on the other hand, are accustomed to one value at a time, which is either zero or one.
Qubits have unique quantum properties that are evident from their processing power - a connected group of them provides way more processing power provided by a similar number of binary bits.
Qubit works on the principle of quantum mechanics - much like waves in classical physics, two or more quantum states can be added together(i.e superposed) to give another valid quantum state as the end product.
This is quite handy in analyzing all possible outcomes for specific scenarios. As a result, quantum quantities can be used for analyzing big data variations and other simulations.
What is the superposition state of quantum computing?
Superposition state is a feature in a quantum system, wherein the objects exist in multiple quantum states at the same time until it is measured. Let us consider a simple example. Most of you might have heard that electrons have a quantum feature called spin. It is nothing but its intrinsic angular momentum. When there is a magnetic field, a typical electron exists in two spin states, viz. spin up and spin down. Until it is measured, each electron has a finite chance of being in either of the states. Only when it is measured, it is observed in a specific spin state.
Similarly, a coin facing up has a definite state - head or tail. Without peeking at the coin, you are sure about the value - either head or tail. However, when you take quantum experience into consideration, the situation is not so evident, as material properties of things seldom exist until their presence is measured. Due to these multi-varied properties, they are used in analyzing data situations from a broader perspective.
Where is the concept of quantum computing generally used?
The heartbeat of quantum properties lies in the determination of the behavior of matter. A useful utility of quantum computing is its ability to simulate the behavior of matter to the molecular level.
Automobile manufacturers like Daimler and Volkswagen are leveraging quantum computing to analyze the electrical vehicle’s battery composition and improve the performance of the fuel cell compositions. Quantum computers are extremely reliable as they crunch out solutions extremely fast.
Airbus, for instance, has calculated the most optimal fuel ascent and descent path for aircraft, saving fuel and time. Similarly, Volkswagen has contributed a fair share by providing a service that helps estimate optimal routes for buses and taxis, thereby avoiding congestion.
Many researchers and tech enthusiasts claim that quantum computing can also help in accelerating artificial intelligence progress.
Corporate giants such as IBM are using quantum computing to better understand the physical processes of nature, and how matter interacts with particles at atomic and subatomic levels. This could lead to many breakthroughs in the field of chemistry, biology, and nanotechnology in the coming days.
Other use cases of quantum computing
Cryptography- If you are communicating top-level secrets, then you should be making sure that the encryption used in the machine should be quantum-ready. Quantum computers are capable of breaking common cipher key RSA algorithms. It is necessary to equip your system with quantum computing techniques to analyze potential data leaks across a multitude of data lakes.
Weather reports - As the core expertise of quantum computing lies in analyzing the behavior of matter, it can help predict weather conditions and climatic changes in the environment.
Quantum simulations - Simulation of complex partial differential problems involving heat and mass transfer, compressible flows can be performed through quantum computing. Analyzing material properties to the subatomic level is also possible as it provides an optimized solution to a scenario be it drug interaction paths in patients or the development of fuel cell batteries for automobiles.
Supply chain logistics - Supply chain logistic operations can be optimized to the highest level because quantum computing takes care of everything from finding the shortest route of delivery to managing inventory of its supplies.
Although tech marvels such as IBM and Microsoft are racing to fully uncover the potential of quantum computing, the usage of quantum computing is not very prominent today and only large multinational corporations are capable of leveraging its potential. This is because a huge capital is required to harness the power of quantum computing. So it is still a far dream for startups and medium-sized companies to use this powerful and futuristic technology.