Quantum Computers could impel the revolutions in science and technology, medical to save lives and treat maladies, machine learning methods to diagnose ailments in no time, supplies and materials to make more efficient user-friendly devices and infrastructure, financial strategies to live in peace and algorithms to make life easier than it ever was. Classical and traditional computing benefits us every day, every month even every second however with increasing challenges it has also become difficult to almost impossible that these systems will never be able to solve what we are facing.
Keywords: Entanglement, qubits, cryptography, superposition
With not enough computational power on the planet to confront problems over a certain size and complexity, we are in a dire need for a new kind of computing-Quantum Computing which gets influenced from quantum mechanical phenomena of superposition and entanglement in the creation of states which scale quite rapidly with a number of qubits, or quantum bits. With becoming a focal point of interest among researchers across the globe, this alluring technology promises an advanced and improved version of traditional and standard computers we use every day. Powered by superposition and quantum entanglement, quantum computing differs in almost all working phenomena from the encoding and decoding system of a conventional computer. Developments in the said field and research can lead to phenomenal breakthroughs in drug discovery, cybersecurity, cryptography, and many more and are set to revolutionize the world as we know it. Quantum Computing began in the 80s when physicist Paul Benioff proposed the quantum mechanical model of the Turing Machine. Theoretically, it would be efficient enough to store many more states per unit of information and would be able to operate many folds faster and more proficient algorithms at numerical levels such as Shor’s Algorithm or quantum annealing.
UNDERSTANDING QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT
Called as ‘spooky action at a distance’ by Albert Einstein, entanglement is still being observed at every possible microscopic level. Entanglement can be thought of as particle present ‘here’ playing their role to influence particles ‘far away’. Bell State perfectly demonstrates how qubits have a perfect correlation and which does not fit in with the laws of quantum mechanics. The following equation aptly illustrates quantum entanglement with two qubits entangled in the Bell State:
“In this state of equal superposition, multiple states can happen simultaneously, and quantum computation elements such as superdense coding and quantum teleportation utilize entanglement”.
HOW DO QUANTUM COMPUTERS WORK?
A previously explained the main usage of quantum computing is through quantum bits or simply qubits. And rather than just being on and off, the principle of binary bits of one or zero on which traditional computers work, qubits can also be in what is mainly called ‘superposition’- where both states of being on and off-exhibit at the same time, or somewhere on a spectrum between the two. If a complex problem is assigned to a traditional computer or say a normal computer, it will try every single possibility and ruling out every odd one, it will then return the right one. Whereas a quantum computer can go down every path of the maze it is released in, at once, and can hold uncertainty in its head just in case. In the mighty realm of quantum computing, it’s easy for you to move information around, even it contains uncertainty.
Though extremely sensitive and require a specific conditions to work such as temperature and pressure to name a few and insulation to operate correctly. Interaction of these machines with the external particles can cause faulty measurements and state overlap occurs that is why they are properly sealed and have to be operated using traditional and conventional computers to ensure the proper working without erroneous results and conclusions. Almost no atmospheric pressure, ambient temperature almost close to absolute zero(-273.15°C) and proper insulation from the Earth’s magnetic field that keeps atoms from colliding with each other, moving or even interacting with the external environment. Also, these systems operate for very short span of time and the damaged information cannot be stored which hinders the smooth working of these systems.
WHAT ARE QUANTUM COMPUTERS CAPABLE OF?
Letting us do things that we couldn’t even have imagined of is the perk of possessing a quantum computer. Yet still a dream, being under process is a mile stone for the humanity. Let’s dive in to what these machines can actually do. They have potential to rapidly accelerate the development of artificial intelligence which is now becoming an integral and almost inevitable part of the planet. Google is already working on this and is utilizing this thing to improve the technology of self-driving cars and is investing most of its resources in this emerging yet the most wondrous technology that we are ever going to witness. Supercomputers can only analyze basic molecules and their structural phenomena but quantum computers offer a lot more than that. Using the same properties as the molecules, quantum computers simulate and provide the results and have little to no complications or problems in handling even the most complicated reactions.
More efficient products, better and cheaper drugs, increased diagnostics and treatments of ailments and a promising future is what quantum computers are to offer. Even the physicians and doctors around the world hope that quantum simulations will help find a reliable cure for Alzheimer’s. Cryptography will be another key application and a lot of encryption systems rely on the basic difficulty of ‘factoring’ and is slow and expensive for the classic and traditional computers. Quantum encryption keys will not be vulnerable as the data of a classical computer and it could not be copied or hacked and would be completely unbreakable that we can term as ‘Virtually Unbreakable Encryption’ and this will change the landscape of data security. These machines will be able to process data up to 100 million times faster than any classical computers and will be capable of processing exabytes of data without any problem. Reduction of power consumption will be a main advantage of quantum computers as they will be processing mainly by using quantum tunneling.
WHY DO WE WANT QUANTUM COMPUTERS?
As discussed in detail earlier, the promise of developing a quantum computer sophisticated enough to execute Shor’s algorithm has been a primary motivator for the researchers and engineers for advancing the field of quantum computing. They will likely deliver huge speedups for particular types of complex problems. But it is better to understand which of these are best suited for quantum speed-ups and the algorithms would be developed to better understand and demonstrate them.
Quantum computers may offer a great deal and have enough potential to revolutionize computation by making certain types of classically intractable problems solvable which our classical and traditional computers are not capable of. While no quantum computer is yet sophisticated enough to carry out calculations that a classical computer can't, great progress is underway as Google and IBM have already announced their progress about the quantum computers and when they are expected to be launched.
As small systems come online a field focused on near-term applications of quantum computers is starting to burgeon. This progress may make it possible to actualize some of the benefits and insights of quantum computation long before the quest for a large-scale, error-corrected quantum computer is complete.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Syed Aun Muhammad