Whether its a astrophysical operations, weather prognosis, or explorations for locating oil and gas resources, powerful super computers are now ready to assist the computation of the most complex problems.
Yet there are some challenges that even the fastest computing machines in the world have been unable to solve, namely the simulation of molecular structures, which has left many professionals in the medical and chemical industry scratching their heads. The development of effective drugs against illnesses, as well as better quality fertilizer to help fight world hunger, is largely dependent on the ability to perform the relevant calculations.
Another example is optimization. A rucksack can hold up to 20 kilograms. If we take several objects all with a specific weight and use, a specific number of objects must be selected that does not exceed the maximum weight of the rucksack but maximizes the value. Inventory management frequently encounters these sorts of challenges, yet mathematical evidence shows that these problems cannot be solved satisfactorily using conventional computers.
This all comes down to how computers are built. The smallest possible storage unit (a bit) can have a value of either 0 or 1. Bits are physically represented by two voltage potentials that correspond to the states 0 and 1. This binary representation of information pushes it to the brink of its capabilities to perform certain tasks.
Qubits: Superposition and Entanglement
In 1981, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman claimed that a so-called quantum computer could be used to perform computations. This theoretical concept went on to generate a wealth of interest and has since become a broad field of research and development.
A quantum computer works with quantum bits, or qubits. In contrast to a traditional computer system, the states of qubits can overlap. In other words, they do not merely represent 0 or 1, but can achieve a mixed state where they are both 0 and 1 at the same time. This is known as a superposition. When measured however, Qubits behave like classical bits and yield the value of 0 or 1.
If various qubits are added together, they do not have a defined state but exist as a qubit entirety. In quantum mechanics, this process is known as entanglement, and refers to how the measurement of two qubits is dependent on the other. For instance, if two qubits are measured and the first measures as 1, the state of the second qubit is already known.
Overcoming Quantum Decoherence
Together, superposition and entanglement form the decisive difference from which quantum computers are said to benefit: with a given number of qubits, numerous sequences of conventional bits can also be displayed. This calculation is therefore equal to the calculation of all bit sequences simultaneously. For certain problems, this quantum parallelism ensures a decisive speed advantage compared to regular computers.
Decoherence nevertheless remains a challenge for researchers. As soon as closed quantum systems start interacting with their environment, the system and environment state are changed irreversibly and errors can occur if this happens during the calculation process.
To ensure that the operations are conducted without mistakes or errors, the quantum computer qubits should preferably be decoupled from their environment which, in turn, minimizes the time to decoherence. This can lead to a possible conflict of objectives, since it is also necessary that the state of an individual qubit can be changed from the outside.
The number of qubits also plays an important technical role the higher the number, the greater the expected speed advantage. At the same time, this increases the number of obstacles to avoid decoherence with each individual qubit.
Five Criteria for Quantum Computers
Based on these ideas, in 1996 physicist David DiVincenzo formulated five criteria that he deemed sufficient for a quantum computer:
So far, no one has succeeded in developing a system that fulfills all these requirements. This is partly due to the lack of clarity surrounding the most appropriate candidates able to physically implement qubits. The energy level of an atom and the angular moment of electrons are currently under discussion, although many other possibilities are also under research.
Applications for Quantum Computing
Further progress continues to be made in the development of quantum computers. To date, none of the prototypes have shown any definitive advantages compared against traditional super computers. This predominantly comes down to the number of qubits used. The widespread view suggests that 50 or more qubits should show a benefit a number that has been officially announced but never achieved.
Experts expect that the first standard quantum computer will appear at some point in the next 10 years. Yet for those who are expecting to have a device under their desks at home may be disappointed; for the foreseeable future, this technology will most likely only be used to perform tasks on a large scale.
Quantum Cryptography: Already in Use
Beyond the development of quantum computers, other technologies benefiting from quantum mechanical effects have sparked interest. An example of this is quantum cryptography, which has been under development since the 1970s, and is now ready for implementation.
Data is the fuel of the 21st century. The world can hugely benefit from the distribution of more devices that interconnectedly generate and analyze data. At the same time, security risks such as data theft and data abuse continue to rise. Experts have estimated that cybercrime cost the economy $454 billion in 2016.
Compared to the solutions already available, quantum cryptographic processes can provide an additional level of safety and security. Discoveries in quantum physics reveal that such encryptions are not only difficult to hack, but downright impossible if they have been implemented correctly.
The aforementioned qualities of quantum systems form the basis for this level of security. Individual light particles transfer a code that is used in message encryption. The particles cannot be intercepted and measured without disruption. If someone were to try and intercept, they would not be able to access the code without being detected.
Progress in quantum computing development is the main motivation to continue developing quantum cryptography. Current encryption processes, such as RSA, rely on the assumption that there is no process in existence fast enough for the prime factorization of large numbers. Yet in 1994, Peter Shor demonstrated that this type of algorithm can be achieved on a quantum computer. The first team to produce an adequately-sized standard quantum computer can therefore hack all such security systems.
Yet this development is still a long way away from the projected 1,000 qubits that would be needed to hack RSA. In areas where secure communication and data transfers are extremely important, quantum cryptography can already offer solutions to safeguard against current and future attacks.
Read the rest here:
What is Quantum Computing? | SAP News Center
- Senate bills would make quantum computing a priority - June 10th, 2018
- What is quantum computing? - Definition from WhatIs.com - February 5th, 2018
- The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy ... - January 26th, 2018
- IBM puts its quantum computer to work in relaxing, nerdy ASMR ... - January 8th, 2018
- Quantum computing is going to change the world. Here's what ... - January 8th, 2018
- Is Quantum Computing an Existential Threat to Blockchain ... - December 25th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Explained | What is Quantum Computing? - December 21st, 2017
- New silicon structure opens the gate to quantum computers - December 14th, 2017
- Microsoft offers developers a preview of its quantum ... - December 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is the Next Big Security Risk | WIRED - December 8th, 2017
- Yale Professors Race Google and IBM to the First Quantum ... - November 16th, 2017
- IBM's processor pushes quantum computing ... - engadget.com - November 16th, 2017
- Quantum computing - news.microsoft.com - November 1st, 2017
- Intel Takes First Steps To Universal Quantum Computing - October 13th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - October 13th, 2017
- quantum computing - engadget.com - October 13th, 2017
- Quantum Computing | Intel Newsroom - October 13th, 2017
- What will you actually use quantum computing for? | ZDNet - October 11th, 2017
- Here's what quantum computing is and why it matters - October 6th, 2017
- Microsoft just upped its multi-million bet on quantum computing - ZDNet - September 7th, 2017
- Microsoft's Aussie quantum computing lab set to scale up next-gen ... - ARNnet - September 7th, 2017
- An Entirely New Type of Quantum Computing Has Just Been Invented - Futurism - September 7th, 2017
- Quantum computing event explores the implications for business - Cambridge Network - August 30th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Coming at Us Fast, So Here's Everything You Need to Know - ScienceAlert - August 27th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - San Francisco ... - San Francisco Chronicle - August 25th, 2017
- Commonwealth Bank investing in Australia's first quantum computer company - Which-50 (blog) - August 25th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - The Conversation US - August 23rd, 2017
- Introducing Australia's first quantum computing hardware company - Computerworld Australia - August 23rd, 2017
- IEEE Approves Standards Project for Quantum Computing ... - insideHPC - August 23rd, 2017
- $495.3 Million Quantum Computing Market 2017 by Revenue Source, Application, Industry, and Geography - Global ... - PR Newswire (press release) - August 18th, 2017
- Physicists Have Made Exotic Quantum States From Light - Futurism - August 16th, 2017
- Machine learning tackles quantum error correction - Phys.Org - August 15th, 2017
- Quantum Internet Is 13 Years Away. Wait, What's Quantum Internet? - WIRED - August 15th, 2017
- Blind quantum computing for everyone - Phys.org - Phys.Org - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Real, and D-Wave Just Open ... - WIRED - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Market Worth 495.3 Million USD by 2023 | 08 ... - Markets Insider - August 10th, 2017
- China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data - CNBC - August 10th, 2017
- Physicists Take Big Step Towards Quantum Computing and ... - Universe Today - August 1st, 2017
- Why you might trust a quantum computer with secretseven over ... - Phys.Org - July 12th, 2017
- Quantum-computer node uses two different ion species - physicsworld.com - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum Computers vs Bitcoin How Worried Should We Be? - The Merkle - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum cheques could be a forgery-free way to move money - New Scientist - July 10th, 2017
- Technique for measuring and controlling electron state is a ... - UCLA Newsroom - July 9th, 2017
- Quantum Computers Made Even More Powerful with New microchip generating 'Qudits' - TrendinTech - July 8th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Record Broken - Wall Street Pit - July 8th, 2017
- Alkermes and IBM's quantum computing. Who'll be the big winner? Malcolm Berko - Durham Herald Sun - July 6th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - IEEE Spectrum - July 1st, 2017
- Google to Achieve "Supremacy" in Quantum Computing by the End of 2017 - Big Think - July 1st, 2017
- Quantum Computing Becomes More Accessible - Scientific American - July 1st, 2017
- Tektronix AWG Pulls Test into Era of Quantum Computing - Electronic Design - June 2nd, 2017
- Toward mass-producible quantum computers | MIT News - MIT News - June 2nd, 2017
- Purdue, Microsoft Partner On Quantum Computing Research | WBAA - WBAA - June 2nd, 2017
- IBM boosts power of quantum computing processors as it lays ... - www.computing.co.uk - May 22nd, 2017
- IBM makes leap in quantum computing power - ITworld - May 22nd, 2017
- The Bizarre Quantum Test That Could Keep Your Data Secure - WIRED - May 18th, 2017
- Molecular magnets closer to application in quantum computing - Next Big Future - May 15th, 2017
- Inside Microsoft's 'soup to nuts' quantum computing ramp-up - Computerworld Australia - April 29th, 2017
- Quantum computing is about to disrupt the government contracts market - Bloomberg Government (blog) - April 22nd, 2017
- Scientists: We Have Detected the Existence of a Fundamentally New State of Matter - Futurism - April 22nd, 2017
- What Sorts Of Problems Are Quantum Computers Good For? - Forbes - April 22nd, 2017
- quantum computing - WIRED UK - April 22nd, 2017
- What is Quantum Computing? Webopedia Definition - March 18th, 2017
- Here Is Everything You Need to Know About Quantum Computers - Interesting Engineering - March 18th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Market Forecast 2017-2022 | Market ... - March 18th, 2017
- Mathematician breaks down how to defend against quantum ... - Phys.Org - February 28th, 2017