The field of quantum computing started in the 1980s according to the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. It was then found that certain computational problems could be tackled more efficiently with quantum algorithms than with their classical ones. For some problems, supercomputers just aren’t enough. We have relied on supercomputers for most of the problems. It is just not efficient enough and cannot cater to all problems. Supercomputers are nothing but thousands of classical computer’s CPU and GPU scores. However, even these aren’t good enough to solve problems that seem trivial at first glance. Therefore we need quantum computers. It was believed that harnessing the phenomena of quantum mechanics for Quantum computing will be a huge leap forward in computation to solve certain problems.
The method of processing information for Quantum computers is completely different from classical computers. Traditional computers process information in the form of ones or zeros(binary bits). Whereas quantum computers transmit information through quantum bits or qubits. The qubits are stored in the quantum form. They can exist either as one or zero or both simultaneously. That was simplified to a fault. The actual working and processes are quite complex. Quantum computing is an area focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels. We will explore some nuances further. Space — known as superposition — lies at the heart of quantum’s potential for exponentially greater computational power with much less energy consumption.
Quantum wave interference is employed by algorithms to find solutions in space. Then they are translated back to interpretable forms. Quantum computers can create vast multidimensional spaces in which they can present large problems. We then represent complex problems in this space using programmable gates. Classical computers or super-computers cannot even go close to this kind of space.
Classical computers have good calculus skills, quantum computing can do so much better. It can do better sorting, find prime numbers, simulate molecules, optimize, and much more. This opens a door for a whole new era of computing.
The most common use case of quantum superposition is Schrödinger’s cat:
In Quantum Computing, despite Schrodinger cat’s familiarity it is quite conflicted. The most interesting fact about superposition is not the two-point focus at a time, but its ability to envision quantum states in multiple ways. Unlike the traditional computers performing tasks sequentially, the Quantum computer is capable of running humongous parallel computations.
Quantum computing requires extensive studies, research, and experimentation. It is Donohue’s charge in clarifying quantum’s nuances, he says: “In superposition, I can have state A and state B. I can ask my quantum state, are you A or B? And it will tell me, ‘I’m a or I’m B.’ But I might have a superposition of A + B — in which case, when I ask it, ‘Are you A or B?’ It’ll tell me A or B randomly.” There is one more merit of the superposition state, that you can ask the question. Are you in the superposition state of A + B? And then, in one case, it will tell me, ‘Yes, I am the superposition state A + B. But there’s always going to be an opposite superposition. So if it’s A + B, the opposite superposition is A – B.” That’s about as simplified as we can get before trotting out equations. But the top-line takeaway is that superposition is what lets a quantum computer “try all paths at once.” That’s not to say that such an unprecedented computational raise will displace or render moot classical computers. Krauthammer says that not all the problems we are facing or will face in the future can be solved by one kind of device and everybody in the community can agree on that. But quantum computing is particularly well suited for certain kinds of challenges. Those include probability problems, optimization. Let’s say -What is the best possible travel route? and the incredible challenge of molecular simulation for use cases like drug development and materials discovery.
There is a promising algorithm, it uses the techniques called Grover’s search . For example, one wants to find an item from a list of N items. In a traditional computer, you have to check N/2 items on average. If you are lucky it will be the first item or if not lucky, it will check all N items.
With Grover’s search on a quantum computer, you will find the item after checking roughly only √N items. This is a remarkable achievement in terms of efficiency and time-saving. For example, if you want to find one particular item in the list of 1 trillion and 1 microsecond to check each item. It would take approximately 1 week for a traditional computer and about 1 second for a quantum computer.
You must be thinking, given the computational power of quantum computers, they will be gigantic. In fact, they are currently about the size of a regular refrigerator and an accompanying wardrobe-sized box of control electronics.
- Cyber security
- Drug Development
- Better Batteries
- Cleaner Fertilization
- Traffic Optimization
- Healthcare (Accelerate diagnosis, personalized medicine, genome mapping, optimized pricing)
- Artificial Intelligence
- Solar Capture
- Electronic Materials Discovery
- Financial Modeling
- Weather Forecasting and Climate Change
Quantum computing can help businesses take advantage of the progress it’s making in the world, there are several areas in which quantum computing excels like advanced cryptography . Quantum computers can come in handy for decryption. It will ensure that our digital lives and assets are under strong protection. The ordinary computers used by most people make it impossible to break encryption which uses very large prime number factorization. Another application of quantum computing is in the aviation sector. This technology could enable more complex aeronautical scenarios. It will aid the routing and scheduling of aircraft providing large commercial benefits for time and costs. Big companies like Airbus and Lockheed Martin are actively researching and investing in the space to take advantage of the computing power and the potential of optimization of this technology. Quantum computing and its science and mechanism can help solve problems in data analytics immensely. It is related by topological and geographical analysis. Topological analysis is a field of study of geometric shapes behaving in specific ways. They describe computations that are not possible with the conventional technology and the limited data set used. The complexity can be dissolved into simple calculations with the quantum computers. The space research organization NASA and others are looking out for Quantum computing for analyzing the enormous amount of data they collect about the universe, as well as to research better and safer methods of space travel. The process of quantum cryptography uses the Quantum key distribution method(QKD).It uses a series of photons (light particles) to transmit data from one location to another over a fiber optic cable. By comparing measurements of the properties of a fraction of these photons, the two endpoints can determine what the key is and if it is safe to use.
Breaking the process down:
- The sender transmits photons through a polarizer which randomly gives them one of four possible polarizations and bit designations: Vertical, Horizontal, 45 degrees right, or 45 degrees left.
- The photons travel to a receiver, which uses two beam splitters – horizontal/vertical and diagonal. They “read” the polarization of each photon.
- Once the stream of photons has been sent, the receiver tells the sender which beam splitter was used for each of the photons in the sequence they were sent. The photons that were read using the wrong beam splitter are discarded, and the resulting sequence of bits becomes the key.
If the photon is read or copied in any way by an eavesdropper, the photon’s state will change. The change will be detected by the endpoints.
Quantum Computing can help in fields of medicine, research and save pharmaceuticals time and this money.