Do you know why so many people know nothing about quantum computing? It’s a complex concept to understand. Most of us first heard about it back in 2018, when the DDoS-for-hire scandal was popular.
Here’s how IBM defines the concept: “Quantum computers leverage quantum mechanical phenomena to manipulate information. To do this, they rely on quantum bits or qubits.”
It’s not a definition that a layman can understand. That’s why most of us leave it to computer scientists. However, we can all benefit from having a basic understanding of something that will have a huge impact on our future.
Most people didn’t understand how standard computers worked. Today, we all understand them more or less. It’s part of our general knowledge, which we use when we’re choosing processors, screen resolution, and other properties for the computers we want to buy.
Let’s learn the most important facts that everyone should know about quantum computing.
7 Things to Know about Quantum Computers
What Is Quantum Computing in the First Place?
To understand quantum computing, we should first explain how standard computing works. The usual computer works by processing bits, which are presented by a zero or a one. That’s why they are called binary systems. Quantum computers use a so-called quantum superposition to encode data. The bits are called qubits, and they can represent a zero, a one, or a combination.
Let’s be honest: it’s not easy to understand how quantum computing works. If you got a research paper on that topic, you’ll probably need to rely on professional writing services to cover it.
You may also take a course on Coursera. There’s a great one called The Introduction to Quantum Computing. It’s offered by Saint Petersburg State University.
Speed Is the Real Deal
“Our normal computers are just fine. Why should we bother with more complex technology?”
Speed is the answer. Calculations become much faster with quantum computing. Although these computers process the same operations, they are much faster in doing that.
Why is there such a substantial difference?
First and foremost, quantum computers are different in superposition. The bits are more flexible, so they can take more than the two standard positions in classical computing (zero and one). Thanks to this ability, quantum computers can process numerous operations at the same time.
Entanglement is another important factor that makes quantum computers different. It means that they can calculate operations simultaneously, and not one by one as our usual computers do.
Complex Calculations Are No Longer an Issue
Traditional computers are cool. However, they don’t have the power to simultaneously track some important things.
Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, explained how that works in layman terms: “A quantum state can be much more complex than that because, as we know, things can be both particle and wave at the same time, and the uncertainty around quantum states allows us to encode more information into a much smaller computer.”
As we can see, quantum computers can do something that standard ones can’t.
Quantum Computers Aren’t Cost-Effective Just Yet
If quantum computing is so cool, what stops it from becoming mainstream?
It’s the cost.
It’s not just the concept of quantum computing that’s complex. The computers themselves are complex, and they cost a lot. D-Wave Systems was the first company to start selling quantum computers. Do you know who the buyers are? NASA, USRA, Google, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin. Those organizations can easily spend millions of dollars on a computer.
The price won’t go down anytime soon, so we shouldn’t expect this technology to replace our usual computers.
The eCommerce Industry Will Progress Even More
Currently, quantum computers aren’t easily accessible. But somewhere in the future, that will change. IBM, Google, and Microsoft are still experimenting with the technology. They are in the early stages of development, but they will make progress.
When quantum computers become more accessible, Amazon and other giant online retailers will reap the advantages. Amazon has to process thousands of orders per minute. Although this retailer is crazy efficient with shipments, quantum computing will make it way better.
Quantum Computing Will Change Medicine, Too
Do your doctors rely on DNA tests before prescribing any medicine? Of course not. DNA tests are expensive and take a long time. Quantum computing will change that.
With faster and more accessible DNA tests, doctors will be able to diagnose illnesses and personalize the treatment for you.
Faster sequencing of DNA is the most obvious advantage that quantum computers have over traditional technology. However, we should remember that they can process more data, too. This means that the predictions from quantum computers will be more reliable. They could help us take the guesswork out of genetics and genomics.
We’ll Finally Understand Climate Change
The data that goes into climate change research is too big for traditional computing technology to work around. Since quantum computers can handle more data and process it more effectively, they will help us evaluate the situation more precisely.
The World Economic Forum published an interesting article on the matter: How quantum computing could beat climate change. It explains that we’ll be able to simulate complex, large molecules with quantum computing. That should help us find effective solutions for carbon capture. With quantum computers, we’ll be able to simulate small molecules up to one million qubits. Currently, researchers simulate them up to a few dozen qubits. It’s a huge difference.
That Was Interesting, Wasn’t It?
Computer scientists are working hard on the quantum computing concept. In the future, humanity will harness the immense power of this technology.
There are problems associated with it. For example, quantum computer cores require -273℃ to operate. If they aren’t super cold, they aren’t stable. They are also extremely expensive, so cost-effectiveness is an issue.
Scientists have been aware of the effectiveness of quantum computing since the 1980s, but we’re still in the early stages of development. But hey; they are working on it, and we’re getting there.