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All You Need to Know About Quantum Technology
“If I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize”, Richard Feynman famously quoted a journalist upon winning the Nobel Prize in physics for quantum electrodynamic. He was referring to the world of quantum mechanics and its highly complex nature. The theory of Quantum Mechanics deals with the mathematical description of the behaviour of matter and light on the atomic and subatomic scale. The field of quantum computing, much like other quantum branches of quantum physics, draws its inspiration from quantum mechanics. Below we elaborate on the computing evolution of quantum computing and its significance for our future.
Table of Contents
What is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing is based on the principles of quantum mechanics, most importantly, the principles of quantum superimposition and entanglement. Quantum superimposition implies that something can exist in multiple quantum states at a given time. This phenomenon translates into quantum bits or qubits which are a superimposition of the states of ‘0’ and ‘1’. Quantum computing uses these qubits to perform complex computational tasks.
Evolution of Quantum Computing
Richard Feynman proposed a basic model for quantum computers that would be capable of solving complex problems.
Factorisation of large integers using quantum computers was made possible by The Shor Algorithm developed by Peter Shor.
A quantum database search algorithm developed by Lov Grover increased the speed of computing problems by 4 times.
A fully functional model of a 2-qubit quantum computer was built.
The world’s first commercially usable quantum computer was introduced by IBM.
Soon the race for quantum computing began with tech giants Google and Microsoft too jumping on the bandwagon of the quantum computing patent landscape.
Classical Computers v/s Quantum Computers
To understand how the two differ, it is important to know how each function. The memory of classical computers is made up of bits, which are a unit of information with a value of 1 or 0. Quantum computers on the other hand use qubits, which can hold either one or both values simultaneously. This ability of superimposition allows them to process and solve problems at much higher speeds than classical computers. As we are heralded into an age of data crunching, quantum computers would prove a saviour by helping us solve complex optimisation problems, data analysis, and simulations. However, it must be noted that quantum computers are not meant to replace classical computers. Building and maintaining a quantum computer requires mammoth resources and they are not suited for everyday tasks involving emails, spreadsheets etc.
How Quantum Computing Will Impact Lives
The computing evolution heralded by quantum computing will benefit:
The process of drug discovery, development, and testing would be expedited with the introduction of quantum computing. The high processing speed will make it easier to understand multiple molecules, proteins and chemicals using quantum simulations. This will aid in reviewing multiple combinations at much faster speeds than allowed by classical computers. There’s also a possibility that quantum computing will eliminate the need for laboratory testing on humans or animals thereby reducing costs.
Assessing multiple potential outcomes is a necessity in financial services. By being able to navigate through large or unstructured data, financial institutions will be able to make more accurate and timely assessments. Corporate finance, capital markets, portfolio management, and encryption-related activities will all profit from lightning-fast speeds, lower costs, and faster transactions.
Like in medical sciences, quantum simulations when applied to predict and monitor the climate will yield advantageous results. It has the potential to help countries solve the climate crisis and mitigate global risks.
The high encryption made by quantum computers is almost impossible to hack. Therefore, these computers offer high security that is immune to cyber-attacks.
Almost all divisions of manufacturing from procurement to production stand to gain from quantum computing. Advantages will be visible from the product design stage itself where quantum computing will offer advanced prototyping options in the least possible time frame. Supply chains will become more efficient and streamlined. The optimization of quality control and fortified cyber security will be highly advantageous to businesses.
Quantum Computing Patent Landscape
The USPTO search engine reveals promising information about the future of quantum computing. There has been a slow but steady increase in quantum patents over the years. The ability of quantum computing to help us solve hitherto impossible problems and analyse massive amounts of data is being noticed by the world. Large companies are investing in quantum patents and focusing on leveraging the immense potential of this brilliant technology. Quantum computing when coupled with other emerging technologies like blockchain and deep learning, is an indicator of the exciting future that awaits us!
The revolutionary and futuristic quantum tech is all set to become a reality in the coming times. It will bring with it disruptive changes that will touch all aspects of human lives. The onus is now on industry and world leaders to harness its immense potential to create a sustainable and secure future for humankind.
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