It’s a big question for the first timers, “What is the heck quantum computing now?” There’s no doubt that quantum computing noise is increasing day after day, so the question is becoming more prominent day after day. Surely we first saw a wave of analytics, data science, machine learning, AI that surprised people now that it’s quantum computing. In the field of quantum computing research, many large organizations have joined the race over the years. Incase you have no background in the world of science or computing that you don’t have to worry about. This post attempts to answer the fundamental questions that every first timer asks. This article also attempts to simplify other quantum computing related terms.
What is Quantum Computing?
A Quantum Computer as the name implies is based on the concept of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics which deals with objects at atomic and sub-atomic level. How motion and interaction takes place between these particles are all covered in quantum mechanics. Thus a quantum computer uses quantum mechanics to process the information. A physical quantum computer is kept in isolated location and would operate at temperatures (-273 degree celsius) much less than intergalactic space. Researchers and scientists working on development of these computers believe that they can solve most of the trivial and critical problems taking few hours to few days. Solution to most of these problems are not possible using the present day computers while some problems might take billions of years using present day computers. Thus researchers believe that quantum computers can help in making new discoveries in different areas such as healthcare, space exploration etc.
History of Quantum Computing.
Researchers had been working on quantum computing much before 1960s and in 1960 Stephen Wiesner invented conjugate coding. From 1960s till 1995 all the research work done on quantum computing was purely theoretical. In 1996 IBM presented a list of minimum requirement for building a physical machine. Thus 1996 laid the ground for building a physical machine. In 1998 first 3 qubit (We will cover qubit soon) NMR machine was developed. Soon several organizations joined the race to develop their own physical machine. For more on history and timeline of quantum computing check out this wiki page.
What are Qubits?
Traditional computer systems work on bits which consists of only 0 and 1. Qubits or Quantum bits are analogous to traditional system bits which are used to store information. Unlike the bits in traditional computers qubit consists of 0, 1 and combination of 0 and 1.
What is Superposition?
In Physics the principle of superposition means that a particle can maintain multiple states at the same time. In classical computers information bit can have only value either 0 or 1, but in quantum computing the information bit can have any of the three values i.e., 0,1 and combination of 0 and 1.
What is Quantum Supremacy and Quantum advantage?
The phenomena where quantum computers can solve the problems which classical computers fail to solve is called Quantum Supremacy. Quantum advantage is the speed with which these computers will solve the problem. Many researchers believe that minimum 50 qubit system would be required to achieve quantum supremacy.