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Quantum computing, now and in the future

Quantum computing, now and in the future

Most of us who work in technology have some basic understanding of what quantum computing is. For those that don’t know, quantum bits are represented by something called ‘qubits’ which do not represent binary information such as a zero or a one, they can represent both- in other words, representing much more information. The quantum effect is known as ‘entanglement’ and it refers to the way in which two particles link together, allowing instantaneous communication.

 

Eventually, quantum computing has the power to thoroughly disrupt technology in such as way that it will dramatically improve the speed in which we are capable of doing things. Solutions will be able to be provided in a matter of hours and days, whereas before, they could have taken hundreds of years, even with our best supercomputers on the case.

If and when quantum computing becomes accessible, how we currently understand the field of cryptography will drastically change. Encryption codes could be broken in minutes, even resulting in the breakdown of blockchain technology that runs on cryptography. In addition to this, the fields of medicine, chemistry, and pharmacology could drastically shift to the next level and may be able to provide real solutions to food shortages, drug discovery, and climate change.

Albert Einstein once said that “God does not play dice with the universe” and he used this as an argument against Niels Bohr and the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Ervin Schrodinger also came up with an argument against this interpretation- the well known thought experiment ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’ which describes a paradox where a cat can be both alive and dead at the same time.

Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates famously discussed quantum computing in 2017 with current CEO Satya Nadella. Gates likened quantum to “hieroglyphics” stating that even his knowledge of physics and maths could not help him. When asked to explain quantum physics, Nadella answered simply “I don’t think so. I wish I could.”

So how can a technology that both Einstein and Gates struggled with, possibly be relevant to your business needs? The answer is that now we are entering a time where quantum is coming and whether you understand it or not, the tipping point is now.

Already, tech firms are branching out into quantum computer manufacturing with D-Wave, and IBM pioneering the way. The latter announced the launch of an integrated quantum computing system for commercial use, in January 2019. Of course, these bits of kit do not come cheap, but luckily there are options to run applications on cloud-based quantum platforms with other major players planning to do similar in the future.

In November of last year, Amazon announced it was hiring Simone Severini, a physics professor from University College London. She assumed the position of Director of Quantum Computing for Amazon Web Services and stated they intended to make quantum computing an integral part of the AWS cloud.

Despite Gates and Nadella not being able to get their heads around quantum, that didn’t stop Microsoft from launching a programming language called Q# that can simulate quantum algorithms and develop a bridge between classical and quantum computing methods.

Those who are so inclined can even take courses in quantum computing at MI, Berkeley, Calech, and UT Austin. There are both graduate and undergraduate courses available.

In conclusion, quantum is most definitely here and accessing them (via the cloud) is possible for almost anyone. Universities are offering courses in the technology and slowly, bit by bit, something that was once thought of in terms of science fiction, is becoming a reality.

So, if someone asks you why you are bothering with quantum computers, or they question the validity of your interest and pursuance of the field, you can tell them this quote by Max Plank; “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.''

Quantum computing is here, don’t get left behind.

Credits: Finerton Malta Bloggers, July 2019
Photos: Unsplash.com

Last modified on: July 26, 2019

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