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Quantum computer the next big thing

Written by Mohamed P.Hassan

Quantum computers although nobody know what they are exactly are advertised to be a premium processor. Although the picture looks vague when it comes to the quantum-mechanical phenomena, it comes down to expectations and possibilities compared to what was not possible in the past but possible now.

The Quantum Computer is a supercomputer, which uses quantum-mechanical phenomena of superposition to save on computation time. According to Time Magazine, which had a chance to see the device and meet the team, it is as simple as being able to process digits 0 and 1 simultaneously. Therefore, it is more to revolutionizing the whole computing concept rather than just speeding it up a little. The regular computers process data in binary digits form, denoted bits, while quantum computation process it in quantum bits form, denoted qubits. Currently, normal computers, denoted “classic computers” when compared to quantum ones, have to process a vector in sequence, so an amount of data have to wait in line to be analysed. Regular computing concept is based on analysing 0 and 1 digit sets, known as binary code. The computing is then based on “ON” or “OFF” state of current to represent 1 or 0, respectively. However, using this method the classic computer computational speed is based on the time it takes to change the current state between on and off. Everything is being written in binary code, which is if we want to represent number “5” you have to use “1 0 1”. While amazingly enough “42” is represented by “1 1 1”.

Learn more about how to read a binary code.

This year announced were some experiments done to process a very small number of qubits, in what looks like a proof of concept. Most information indicate the research process in the field of quantum computing is supported by the United States government various agencies. However, a recent Time Magazine article mentions the company responsible for the development as “largely funded by Google”. The experiments as described by the same article are being conducted under a temperature of -273.1°C (-459.6°F). While the device, indicated to be the experimental computing unit, is said to be around 5 meters (10 feet) high. The company called “D-Wave” have allegedly already rolled out a second model of its supercomputers. The small Canadian company is said to be selling this device for about USD 10 million. It is expected this quantum computer, like any other that might use the concept, would be able to solve algorithms (computer problems) radically faster than classic computers. The concept is further explained as it being a password you want to crack, while the only way to find it is to guess all possible options. Therefore, even if the classic computer guessed them randomly it would end up taking the same time as trying one by one. However, quantum computers can calculate such special problems in a time proportional to the square root of the number of inputs. Meaning an algorithm that takes 32 time units to solve will only take about 6 time units to solve and one that takes 10,000 time units to solve will only take 100 time units to solve.

Although the quantum computer looks to operate in a completely different concept. A different perspective can render any computer doing as much as a quantum. This perspective indicates that it is just a matter of mapping the processing system. Thus, being able to process qubits, which are not necessary 1 or 0 but a complex superimposed representation of data.

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