WRITTEN BY CONNOR WHITE
What is quantum computing?
Quantum computing refers to computers that solve complex problems that high performance computers, or supercomputers, can’t solve. Quantum computers can resolve the laws of quantum theory and other problems involving elementary particles and microscopic physics. When working with atoms and subatomic particles, there are many subtle variables that classical computers are not able to pick up and complex associations that they cannot handle. For example, running equations to find a single atom in a wave would take a supercomputer thousands of years, while a quantum computer could do this in a matter of minutes. Quantum computing is the fastest way to answer questions about the quantum world, allowing researchers to run simulations of atomic interactions at a highly accelerated rate. Using this, they can conduct research that would otherwise take thousands of years in a tiny fraction of the time.
How does it work?
Classical computers run on a Boolean system called binary, where 1’s and 0’s (1 meaning on and 0 meaning off) are required to process data. Quantum computers can place 0 into a superposition of 1 and 0 simultaneously (which is referred to as a qubit). These qubits allow the quantum computer to register every particle it is looking at and give it a qubit value. When the qubits are placed in superposition, they can create new multidimensional computational spaces to represent the data. This allows the computer to solve computations much more efficiently. Because quantum computers are extremely fast and use large data sets, they get extremely hot, so they need to be kept in areas with low temperatures. These computers also require a tremendous amount of energy to run, costing millions of dollars per year.
Quantum computing in the future
With quantum computers as powerful as they are, it is important to remember that they could break almost every cyber security system. Security systems that store important data rely on complex mathematics that would take classical computers years to break, but using quantum computers, they can be broken quickly. Using these computers inappropriately could result in governments or large organizations being compromised. Therefore, it is important that the use of quantum computers is properly regulated and monitored.
Quantum computing was developed for the research of quantum physics, but the principles of quantum computers can also be implemented into many other fields of technology. The main appeal of quantum computing is its ability to process massive and complex data sets, making it perfect for technology developments related to chemical engineering, aerospace, artificial intelligence, finance, and automotive engineering. All of these can be made more efficient and accurate with quantum computing. The ability to work with superpositioning and elementary particles can enable researchers to see patterns in atoms that will reveal the fundamentals of physics and advance our technology.
While it seems that quantum computing can revolutionize every industry, the technology is still years away from being implemented in such a way. Even when these computers are used more frequently, they will not be used like classical computers. Quantum computers are not meant to replace classical computers; they have specific functions and will only be used appropriately for extraordinarily complex tasks.