Quantum computing is an area of computer science that uses the principles of quantum theory. Quantum theory explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels
The Power of Quantum Computers
When you enter the world of atomic and subatomic particles, things begin to behave in unexpected ways. In fact, these particles can exist in more than one state at a time. It’s this ability that quantum computers take advantage of.
Instead of bits, which conventional computers use, a quantum computer uses quantum bits—known as qubits. To illustrate the difference, imagine a sphere. A bit can be at either of the two poles of the sphere, but a qubit can exist at any point on the sphere.
So, this means that a computer using qubits can store an enormous amount of information and uses less energy doing so than a classical computer. By entering into this quantum area of computing where the traditional laws of physics no longer apply, we will be able to create processors that are significantly faster (a million or more times) than the ones we use today. Sounds fantastic, but the challenge is that quantum computing is also incredibly complex.
Features of Quantum Computing:
Superposition: According to IBM, it’s what a qubit can do rather than what it is that’s remarkable. A qubit places the quantum information that it contains into a state of superposition. This refers to a combination of all possible configurations of the qubit. “Groups of qubits in superposition can create complex, multidimensional computational spaces. Complex problems can be represented in new ways in these spaces.”
Entanglement: Entanglement is integral to quantum computing power. Pairs of qubits can be made to become entangled. This means that the two qubits then exist in a single state. In such a state, changing one qubit directly affects the other in a manner that’s predictable.
Decoherence: Decoherence occurs when the quantum behavior of qubits decays. The quantum state can be disturbed instantly by vibrations or temperature changes. This can cause qubits to fall out of superposition and cause errors to appear in computing. It’s important that qubits be protected from such interference by, for instance, supercooled refrigerators, insulation, and vacuum chambers.
Applications of Quantum Computing:
1. For stronger online security, quantum computing can help design better data encryption and ways to use light signals to detect intruders in the system.
2. Financial institutions may be able to use quantum computing to design more effective and efficient investment portfolios for retail and institutional clients. They could focus on creating better trading simulators and improve fraud detection.
3. The healthcare industry could use quantum computing to develop new drugs and genetically-targeted medical care. It could also power more advanced DNA research.
4. Quantum computing can be used to design more efficient, safer aircraft and traffic planning systems.
5. Quantum computing could contribute greatly to military affairs and intelligence, aerospace designing, utilities (nuclear fusion), polymer design, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data search, and digital manufacturing.
Limitations of Quantum Computing
1. Security and quantum cryptography is not yet fully developed.
2. Decoherence, or decay, can be caused by the slightest disturbance in the qubit environment. This results in the collapse of computations or errors to them.
3. Error correction during the computing stage hasn’t been perfected. That makes computations potentially unreliable.