What is a quantum computer? How would it work? What could it do for me? These are all questions that many people have about quantum computers. A quantum computer is an experimental device, and there’s no guarantee one will ever be built. But in the event that they are actually built, they would change the world as we know it. Quantum computers would be so powerful that they could solve problems too complex for regular computers to solve. They could also find relationships between things that haven’t been discovered before.
What is a quantum computer?
Qubits, or “qubits,” are quantum mechanical objects that can exist in two states. They can be in a superposition of being both a 0 and 1. Quantum computers work by exploiting the inherent weirdness of the world around us. The laws of nature don’t allow for anything to be in a superposition of two values for long, and it seems that nature plays a game of catch-up when it comes to understanding what happens at a quantum level. For example, if a photon is traveling through a liquid, it will exist in two states simultaneously; bright light and dark. The reason for this is the rules of quantum mechanics, and in a quantum computer that’s exactly what it’s going to look like. Qubits are the building blocks of a quantum computer, and qubits can exist in two states simultaneously.
How do quantum computers work?
According to Popular Mechanics, it all boils down to quantum mechanics. As you know, atoms and molecules don’t react in a linear manner. For example, if you throw an object into a cup of water, a bubble forms. However, if you throw an object into a cup of ice water, it’ll freeze. The same way in which ice water melts into water molecules doesn’t work in the same manner with particles of matter. They behave in quantum physics’ way, and instead of one of the particles entering into the system and absorbing the other particle, they must somehow give a signal to each other. These signals can take the form of polarization. Since it has a definite direction, if the polarization changes, it could determine the direction of a particle’s motion.
What could a quantum computer do for you?
These are all great questions, but they can also be annoying questions. The reason they are annoying is that people make too many assumptions about quantum computers. If you know the answers to these questions, congratulations. You are now the king of all science. But for those of us who don’t, let’s look at some of the questions we can and should be asking. Question: “Will a quantum computer make my life any better?” Answer: “Probably not, but the difference is so small you probably won’t notice.” Is a quantum computer powerful enough to make our lives better? You might be surprised to learn that people who don’t understand quantum computers still think they are going to be really, really, really powerful.
Who is building them?
A lot of attention has been directed to Google and IBM for designing and working on the world’s first quantum computers. But others, including D-Wave Systems Inc., are also working on quantum computers. Why are they so exciting? The biggest benefit of a quantum computer is its speed. And they’re so fast that today’s supercomputers have trouble even keeping up. Plus, quantum computers are energy efficient. And the materials that make up the devices can be reversibly adjusted so that the data they run through is already known, eliminating the need to keep a computer processor running. This means a quantum computer would not only be faster but also cheaper and more efficient. Why are the technologies still in the prototype phase? First, the devices have to be built.
When will we have one?
A prototype quantum computer has been built by a team at IBM, but it’s only 16 qubits, so it’s not a true quantum computer. Many believe that the first quantum computer will be built in the next decade or two. “The more qubits you add to the quantum computer, the more calculations you can do,” said Demis Hassabis, one of the co-founders of Google DeepMind, a research arm of Google (and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley). Hassabis is also one of the founders of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, which has set out to build a universal quantum computer. The lab is based at Imperial College, London, in the United Kingdom. “You can sort of think of quantum computers as having many thousands of connections that can be connected in different ways, in a quantum computer.
Quantum computers are not that far away, and there is a lot of buzz about them. Do they have practical applications? Some people think they are close to being a reality. They say that quantum computers will be able to solve the hardest equations that have been submitted to the prime number theorem. This blog post didn’t really tell you much about how to actually build a quantum computer, but I hope it gave you some perspective. Are you excited about the possibility of the near future when all of our problems would be solved?