Published on March 5th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Quantum Computing, Now and In the (Not Too Distant) Future
As technologies like IoT and blockchain suck up huge amounts of energy the quest is on for new ways to process all that data. Quantum computing could be that future as explained by Shelly Fan at SingularityHub. Quantum is far from mainstream but like any tech new innovations and improvements will happen rapidly. Will we one day have quantum computing in the palm of our hand or in our wearable device? Stay tuned.
Fifty years ago, smartphones would have been the ultimate computing wizardry. Just as classical computers were almost unimaginable to previous generations, we’re now facing the birth of an entirely new type of computation, something so mystical it may as well be magic: quantum computing.
If the word “quantum” makes your head spin, you’re not alone. The world of the very small, very cold, very sensitive and very weird may seem like an improbable system to build a commercial computing machine on, yet that is exactly what IBM, Google, Rigetti Computing, and other companies are working towards.
In January at the Consumer Electronics Show, IBM Q, a pioneering industry initiative trying to bring quantum computers from labs to the real world, unveiled System One: a dazzling, delicate, and chandelier-like machine that’s now the first integrated universal quantum computing system for commercial use, available for anyone to play with.
You’ve probably heard of quantum computers’ potential: the properties of quantum physics blast open massively parallel computing schemes that will likely deliver huge leaps in computing power, potentially outstripping anytransistor-based supercomputers we can come up with—today and tomorrow. It may revolutionize chemistry, pharmaceuticals, materials science, and machine learning.
But what exactly makes quantum computers so powerful? To delve into this mysterious field, I briefly chatted with Jeff Welser, vice president and lab director at IBM Research– Almaden for his expert take on the potentially disruptive technology. The interview can be found at the end of the article.
What Are Qubits
First, some basics on how quantum computers work—and it definitely helps if you keep classical computers in mind.
The secret to quantum computers’ prowess is that they manipulate qubits. Everything a classical computer processes—text, images, videos, and so on—rely on large strings of 0s and 1s, or bits. At its core, a bit represents one state or another, such as whether a light bulb is on or off, or if an electrical circuit is connected or not. In modern computers, a bit is generally represented by an electrical voltage or current pulse.