Quantum computing uses the principles of quantum theory which describe the behaviour of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels which are vastly different from normal physics. Classical computers today employ a stream of electrical impulses (1 and 0) in a binary manner to encode information in bits. This restricts their processing ability, compared to quantum computing. Quantum computing uses subatomic particles, such as electrons or photons. Quantum bits, or qubits, allow these particles to exist in more than one state (i.e., 1 and 0) at the same time which means a qubit stores more information than a traditional bit. （Frankenfield, 2022）
How Do Quantum Computers Work?
The IBM Quantum processor is a wafer not much bigger than the one found in a laptop. And a quantum hardware system is about the size of a car, made up mostly of cooling systems.
Superfluids: Your desktop computer likely uses a fan to get cold enough to work. Our quantum processors need to be very cold – about a hundredth of a degree above absolute zero. To achieve this, we use super-cooled superfluids to create superconductors.
Superconductors: At those ultra-low temperatures certain materials in our processors exhibit another important quantum mechanical effect: electrons move through them without resistance. This makes them “superconductors.”
Superposition: Placing the quantum information a qubit holds into a state of superposition, which represents a combination of all possible configurations of the qubit. Groups of qubits in superposition can create complex, multidimensional computational spaces.
Entanglement: Entanglement is a quantum mechanical effect that correlates the behaviour of two separate things. When two qubits are entangled, changes to one qubit directly impact the other. Quantum algorithms leverage those relationships to find solutions to complex problems. （IBM, 2022）
Benefits of Quantum Computing
- Financial institutions may be able to use quantum computing to design more effective and efficient investment portfolios
- The healthcare industry could use quantum computing to develop new drugs and genetically targeted medical care. It could also power more advanced DNA research.
- For stronger online security, quantum computing can help design better data encryption and ways to use light signals to detect intruders in the system.
- Quantum computing can be used to design more efficient, safer aircraft and traffic planning system
- Decoherence, or decay, can be caused by the slightest disturbance in the qubit environment. This results in the collapse of computations or errors to them.
- Error correction during the computing stage hasn’t been perfected. That makes computations potentially unreliable. Since qubits aren’t digital bits of data, they can’t benefit from conventional error correction solutions used by classical computers.
- Security and quantum cryptography is not yet fully developed.
- A lack of qubits prevents quantum computers from living up to their potential for impactful use. Researchers have yet to produce more than 128.
The quantum computing market is projected to reach $64.98 billion by 2030 from just $507.1 million in 2019. A handful of big tech companies have been investing heavily in the space. Microsoft’s Azure cloud has released quantum tools, as have Google and Amazon’s respective cloud platforms. Meanwhile, quantum-focused start-ups D-Wave and IonQ have raised $199.69 million and $84 million respectively, per PitchBook. （Robinson, 2021）
Frankenfield, J. (2022, August 29). What is quantum computing? Investopedia. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/q/quantum-computing.asp#:~:text=Quantum%20theory%20explains%20the%20behavior,0)%20at%20the%20same%20time.
IBM. (2022). What is quantum computing? IBM. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.ibm.com/topics/quantum-computing
Robison, K. (2021, March 2). Here’s how quantum computing could transform the future. Business Insider. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/quantum-computing-investing-computers-enterprise-2021-3#:~:text=Big%20companies%20are%20investing%20in%20quantum%20tech&text=Experts%20expect%20quantum%20computing%20to,just%20%24507.1%20million%20in%202019.