Quantum computing is a rapidly-emerging technology, with many prominent companies investing in its development. But what makes quantum computers such an important technology?
The power of technology has kept growing exponentially, allowing computers to get smaller and more powerful at the same time. But this process is about to meet its physical limits.
We continuously experience the benefits of classical computing. But there are problems above a particular size and complexity that would take a traditional computer an impractical amount of time to solve.
All computers rely on a core ability to store and manipulate information. Current computers work on individual bits that store data as binary: 0 and 1 states. For example, when our human eyes see the letter A, our computer sees a specific string of zeros and ones. From social media to spreadsheets, everything is done through these sequences of 0 and 1.
However, where current computers use bits, Quantum computers use qubits. The bits in our present computers can only be either one or zero, but not both. Qubits can represent a one and a zero at the same time. This allows quantum computers to look at many different variables simultaneously.
Quantum computers would be thousands of times faster than our current computers, possibly reducing the time to solve a complex problem from hundreds of thousands of years to mere seconds!
A standardized desktop operating system could be a significant step towards quantum practicality. Once this practicality is established, Quantum computers will be used to create applications that can help us tackle issues like climate change or figure out a cure for cancer.
Along with this, Quantum-powered AI will give us machines that can think and learn more quickly than ever. Once this is possible, we can build accurately simulated models of systems far too complex to be modeled today – such as electromagnetic radiation, gravity, and perhaps even biological brains.
Whatever emerges of quantum computing, it is clear that it is a hugely exciting area of technological progress. We can expect to see it increasingly impacting our lives in the coming years.