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How Quantum Computers Work
Quantum computing harnesses the phenomena of quantum mechanics to deliver a huge leap forward in computation to solve certain problems. — IBM
As I had earlier explained, quantum computers differ from classical computers in that, it uses qubits instead of the traditional bits. It allows for uncertainty in measurements. In my opinion qubits are more realistic, in that they capture the fuzziness of nature. They also capture nature’s intrinsic binary eventuality, in that they collapse to either 0 or 1. But before then, they exist somewhere within the spectrum.
The property of superposition combined with entanglement are exploited to develop a new kind of computational machinery — the quantum computers. Think of them as typical computers with qubits instead of bits, and can solve a maze by trying all possible paths simultaneously, as opposed to trying one at a time. Information swims elegantly in a pool of uncertainty that settles for a fixed result when you want it to.
The consequences of this fundamental difference are enormous. You will be thrilled by some!
The Future — WTH Can Quantum Computers Do?
There are rumors that intelligence agencies are getting in the business of accumulating cryptic data in the hopes that a quantum computer would have them decrypted. Well, they could be rationally ambitious. There are such prospects with quantum systems. Take the RSA encryption for instance — the most common encryption for many public-private key systems. Its works by multiplying big prime numbers and utilizing the difficulty in factorization for encryption. It has been an open problem for mathematicians for years. Even for our most advanced supercomputers, cracking some of such large products would take roughly the age of the observable Universe — this is not feasible. Quantum computers will do this in hours! Does it need to be said that they are going to revolutionize cryptography as we know it. And if you are thinking about why this revolution has not taken place yet, you are on the right track. Indeed, beyond the hardware and powerful algorithms (in this case, its Shor’s Factoring Algorithm), qubits are an essential recipe — and currently they are in short supply. It is estimated that they would be enough of them for tasks like this in about 5 years.
You may wonder, what happens when these computers threaten and nullify our most sophisticated encryptions? We innovate, we adopt quantum encryptions that will be approximately impossible to bypass.
But beyond breaking codes, speed and efficiency, there are applications that we have sort machines to crack for long. One is in the area for molecular simulation and drug discovery. It takes a lot of computational complexity for a classical computer to simulate even small simple molecules, this will be done relatively easily with quantum computers, as they are themselves quantum systems.
As you may have observed, quantum computers promise to outperform classical computers in many areas, not replace them. In fact, the superiority of quantum computers in such areas is referred to as Quantum Supremacy.
These computers are going to play in the development of efficient batteries and solar panels, push the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence, better predict financial markets and even weather forecast.
And what’s more? They will probably be able to more efficiently find you a spouse — a stable marriage! The top billionaires in the world failed at solving this problem, and dating apps? They consider only a tiny set of conditions and options in getting you a match.
With quantum computers, methods like the Gale-Shapley Algorithm can be optimally implemented for as much members of the human race as possible, to output optimal choices of partners. Optimal!
So you should look up this algorithm if you wish to find your soulmate convincingly… *winks*. This optimization will cut across allocation of resources and transportation, and even the oil and gas industry. It is this insight that has driven Google and BP into serious investments in the technology for self-driving cars and oil exploration respectively.
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