What is Quantum Computing and why is it important?
How Quantum Computers Can Reshape Manufacturing, Finance, AI and Cybersecurity?
Tech giants like Google and IBM, as well as national governments like the United States and China, are all racing to develop and dominate the next generation of quantum supercomputers.
In this article, we’ll explore the current state of quantum computing and consider its influence in the future.
What is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing is the most advanced computer science currently available. It operates at a sub-atomic level, a strange world where tiny particles can exist in two places simultaneously.
Quantum computers rely on the laws of quantum mechanics to process massively complex data information, surpassing conventional computers in both speed and energy efficiency.
The technology is groundbreaking because it offers a huge leap forward in computer processing power, potentially allowing us to tackle problems too large and complex for conventional computers.
It’s all about Bits Vs. Qubits
It’s good to remember that all computers are essentially machines performing number calculations.
Conventional computers store and process information using bits – units of information which can only be represented in one of two possible states: either as a 0 or a 1.
In classic computer language, everything you do on a standard computer – anything from emails to Facetiming – is always understood by your machine as either a 0 or a 1.
What is radically different in quantum computers is that they can process qubits – bits designed to represent data information as both a 0 and a 1 at the same time.
Enabling multiple calculations simultaneously, quantum computer language allows the device to store more data than ever before and to process that data at mind-bending speeds.
Who’s doing it ?
As top computer scientists try to understand the complexities and implications of quantum computing, quantum computers are still far from being accessible for practical use on a mass scale. There are still errors and high costs to be addressed.
Despite still not being useful for the average computer user, quantum’s ongoing development involves an ecosystem of tech giants and startups, both attracting major investment from venture capitalists and corporations.
Google proclaimed ‘Quantum Supremacy’ in 2019 and has been developing quantum computing since at least 2009. IBM has offered researchers the ability to run cloud-based experiments on its 20-Qubit quantum computing machine since 2017. Other key players include Californian startup Rigetti and Vancouver-based D-Wave.
Future Quantum Applications – What is it good for ?
Offering exceptional computing processing power, quantum computers thrive in generating complex simulation models which can help us solve problems that would literally take years to perform with traditional computing.
Let’s have a look at some areas these powerful machines are especially well suited for.
Global financial markets are some of the most complex and chaotic systems ever designed. Financial analysts and investors can benefit from quantum computing by being able to test random optimization and financial risk models in a controlled environment, and to prevent losses from unfounded financial assumptions.
Airbus is already using quantum computers to simulate the best possible ascent and descent paths for its aircraft. By crunching through vast amounts of data faster than anything else, quantum computers can help us optimize anything from construction materials, fertilizing chemicals, logistics and supply chains.
New security challenges will emerge as soon as quantum computers are able to crack through our current data encryption methods with relative ease and speed. In order to counter quantum hacking, the National Security Agency in the US has been developing quantum-resistant encryption techniques since 2015.
The field of artificial intelligence will be particularly accelerated through the use of quantum computing. As things like voice recognition, computer vision and machine translation are significantly improved through quantum machine learning, we will have machines able to perform optimum decisions within a range of unpredictable scenarios.
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