Time has become so precious that most of us don’t talk about ‘a second’ rather we care about ‘milliseconds’. With each passing year, everything is becoming so fast that with the blink of your eye most of the work will get done. These advancements have justified the statement “time is money”. More than present, we are much more concerned about the future. It won’t be wrong to say that we are already living in the future. If we talk about computers, then they are the most important entities in today’s world.
One of the facts about the computers states that it was not developed for entertainment purposes. The sole idea was to develop a technology that could solve complex and large numerical problems. It is said that during the 1880s, the population of US grown so much that it took around 7 years to calculate the US Census results. That led to the development of punch card-based computers. The size of those computers was so huge that they required a whole room. The computing technology we use now has no comparison with punch card-based systems. Let us shed some light on what computing is.
In simpler terms, computing is the process or way which we use to accomplish a task on a computer system with the help of its technology. It is a broader term that can be characterized in different domains with specific meaning including cloud computing, grid computing, ubiquitous computing, social computing and much more. The personal computers that we use in our daily lives are also designed for doing several specific tasks. No matters how technology is changing, but the principles will remain the same. In this race to the future, we have come so far that a dream for Quantum Computers has become reality. It is a whole new level for computing and will open many possibilities in the future.
As we have earlier said it a dream, which means the thought of quantum computing is not relatively new. The process was started way back in the early 1980s, yes it is true. The first quantum mechanical model was proposed by physicist Paul Benioff. That model was of a Turing machine. The major achievement was later made by Peter Williston Shor, an American applied mathematics professor at MIT in the year 1994. He developed an algorithm, which is known as a polynomial-time quantum algorithm for factoring integers. After this, efforts for the development of quantum computer began with many experiments that have been performed in photonic systems & superconducting systems.
Why quantum computers are so special?
Computers we use are the classical ones, while quantum computers are entirely different. Why are we saying that these computers are different and special, there has to be something unique. Yes, quantum computers can perform tasks that are not possible for regular ones. The information is translated in the form of binary language i.e. 0 or 1 in Classical systems which are known as bits. While on the other hand, quantum computation does this by using “qubits” or you can say quantum bits. Apart from 0 & 1, these systems can represent additional states by “superimposition” and “entanglement”. This superimposition is not common as it can only be achieved by quantum systems, not the ones we use for our regular work.
This complexity of quantum systems has opened new doors of possibility for the future. What we mean by saying is that the quantum computers will have the ability to solve the hardest of problems in less amount of time and with much more accuracy & reliability, which is not possible with the regular computers. Quantum computing is still in its starting phase and promises to do a lot in the future. Experts have said that quantum technology will be a million times more powerful as compared to the best of supercomputers we use now. What makes these computers so effective is quantum bits.
Quantum Bits or Qubits
As a bit in ordinary machines, a qubit is the basic unit of a quantum computer on which it works. A qubit can take an infinite number of values, which is not the case in bits that only has 0 or 1. This is the prime reason why quantum computers promise to achieve the unimaginable. The superimposition ability of qubits gives inherent parallelism to quantum computers. This means that quantum systems can simultaneously work on millions of computations with great accuracy.
Another point to consider is ‘entanglement’ which we have mentioned earlier as well. Entanglement is known to play a key role in quantum computing. It is defined as a mechanical phenomenon where two or more objects in quantum states are described concerning each other, it doesn’t matter how much distance is there between them. This will maintain a correlation between the physical properties of the system. This already gives an idea of how this technology will grow and will be beneficial for communication technology & computing.
The role of these quantum effects
Superimposition & entanglement are two of the pillars of quantum computing that are still under their infancy. They allow a computer system to perform many calculations at the same time. Plus, they also promise to do numerous tasks that were impossible for regular systems. It is also not about doing calculations or tasks, rather the speed at which they can perform is the key too. It is also believed that quantum systems have the ability to solve complex mathematical problems with ease, e.g. factoring a number having more than 500 digits. Who would have thought that this could be done, except Peter Shor in the year 1994, who said that a fully operational quantum computer could perform this task easily?
When quantum computers will become a reality?
If we talk about the real presence of quantum computers, then they are already present and in use. But they are for research purposes only and are not yet effective to replace the classical ones. Quantum technology is already in use and QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) is commercially available. QKD is a type of secure communication that generates a shared secret code for two parties that is known only to them. That code is used for encryption & decryption of important messages in a secure manner. This technology is also under research and will open new dimensions of security in the future.
Qubits are an integral part of quantum systems as we have discussed above. They could be made of anything like electrons, ions, photons, or atoms and they are very delicate in nature. This delicacy of quantum bits is the real challenge that even the slightest of noise or other environmental factors result in disruption of the quantum state of qubits. This removal of the quantum state is termed as “decoherence” and scientists around the world are figuring out to tackle this issue. A completely operational quantum computer that can replace regular one is still years away but not too far.
How a qubit can be made?
Many Research has examined that superconductivity can be used for creating & maintaining quantum state. But to work with these qubits for an extended period of time, the temperature of the system should be close to absolute zero. Even the slightest of temperature change will result in incorrect results. Let us see which key components could be in the quantum computers to achieve consistent cold temperatures.
Qubit Signal Amplifier
Input Microwave Lines
Superconducting Coaxial Lines
More research to create a stable quantum state for longer times is still there and will give better results as well.
How can quantum computers benefit the industries in the future?
Though it is not right to say what exactly quantum systems will do for industries yet many unapproachable problems could be solved. Plus, quantum systems will also open gates for discoveries and research in a much better way as compared to today’s systems. Quantum computing is not confined to a particular sector rather it has something for each and every field.
It is believed that with the help of quantum computing many problems that we wouldn’t have attempted to solve will also be solved easily. Industries will experience a great benefit once quantum systems will completely be out for commercial use. The time is near when everyone will rush to replace their systems with this super fast and super smart technology.
Now, we have talked so much about ‘Quantum’ that it’s already revolving in our minds how fast this technology will spread once out. With so much debate around quantum computing, there is one more thing which we must talk about and that is “Quantum Supremacy.”
It is a simple term that demonstrates that a quantum device is capable of performing calculations that would be impossible for even a supercomputer. According to a report, researchers from Google have claimed to perform a quantum supremacy experiment. A programmable superconducting processor was developed by the research team and that was used to carry out this experiment. The processor they developed was a 54-qubit processor and they named it “Sycamore”. They said that the targeted computation performed by their system took around 200 seconds, whereas even the fastest of supercomputers would take 10,000 years for achieving the same.
That experiment just demonstrated what these quantum computers are being capable of and what we can expect from them. The debate, the research, the experiments, and the wait all is still there with limitless possibilities. Hopefully, we will experience the reign of quantum computing soon, as no one knows the exact time.