What is Quantum Computing, and how will it change our lives?

(flicker image: IBM Research)

The world that we live in makes it evident that our reliance is growing faster than ever on computers. It’s so prominent as technology is intertwined in our lives. No industry can prosper without the use of machines and technology. With this increasing demand and growing applications, we hope that computers will keep getting faster and better. Or will it?

Since the dawn of classical computers, there has always been an endeavor to increase the computers’ applications as computers are great at doing intense, repetitive, calculative tasks without experiencing fatigue. This momentum is not to replace humans but make our work easier and leave us as decision-makers.

But with this high pace of development and improvements in classical computers, we have started realizing that we are coming to a standstill since not a lot of enhancement has been made recently. We are reaching the peak of this curve in the computational race. This obstruction is caused by the limitation of how classical computers’ memory works. Even though we create giant computers to the size of houses, it would still hit the threshold. The only way to overcome this would be to change some of the fundamentals of how computation works, which would allow us to continue on our quest for smaller yet faster and better computers.

Physicists have always been the driving force of engineering. They have constantly challenged the fundamentals. When there was no room for improvement left, they have presented with a new and better foundation to bring more advancement. A new theory was necessary to compute deterministic predictions when classical computers were failing to explain new experiments. Quantum mechanics abstains from deterministic predictions and instead embraces the theory of probability. This means that quantum mechanics can predict the statistical distribution of several experiments, where a single experiment is a random event.

Classical Computers think in terms of two states (0s and 1s) by yielding one or more bits as an output measured by voltage. Quantum computation uses qubits with two or more states distinguished by a measurement. Qubits are built from a quantum object where it can be in the form of a spinning particle, a polarized photon, or a quantum wire with a charge. This helps pack more information in, the reason being qubit can be in every possible state simultaneously.

(Image from brilliant.org)

Hence we need fewer qubits compared to bits to solve our BIG problems (computational heavy). Which traditionally is being done by using a large number of bits to calculate and store information.

Using Quantum computing will accelerate our achievements in chemistry that can lead to great advancements in medical researches. It can help us understand our universe better, take us even further in our journey with mathematics. It is bound to change and expedite all the industries. But even though this quantum tech is at our forefront, a few questions arise.

Are we ready for Quantum Computer?

How do we decide what problems are worth solving?

Will Quantum Computers pose threats to cryptography and be able to break tech heavily relying on it(example: blockchain)? Absolutely!

Will it be available for public use?

How can we regulate and monitor their use since they are the most computationally powerful machines we have ever created?

and many more …..

Answering these begs discussion, requiring various industry experts to share their knowledge and concern. All we can do is tune in to big players like IBM and Google and keep ourselves informed with the latest works in Quantum Computing. According to IBM, we will have our first commercially ready Quantum computers within 3–5 years. It will open a new door for employment as Quantum problems will require Quantum Engineers and Programmers.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this :) I’ll drop a few links below if you’d like to continue reading more.

Quantum Computing: https://www.ibm.com/quantum-computing/learn/what-is-quantum-computing/

Open source quantum development: https://qiskit.org/

Quantum tools in IBM cloud: https://quantum-computing.ibm.com/docs/

Become certified quantum developer: https://www.ibm.com/certify/exam?id=C1000-112

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Akshat Jain

Akshat Jain

Science. Tech. Music.

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