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Quantum Computing

FROM BITS TO QUBITS

Conventional computers are built from silicon chips that contain millions or billions of miniature transistors. Each of these can be turned "on" or "off" to represent a value of either "1" or "0". Conventional computers subsequently store and process data using "binary digits" or "bits".

In contrast, quantum computers work with "quantum bits" or "qubits". These are represented in hardware using the quantum mechanical states of sub-atomic particles.

Due to the peculiar laws of quantum mechanics, individual qubits can represent a value of "1", "0" or both numbers simultaneously. This is because the sub-atomic particles used as qubits can exist in more than one state -- or "superposition" -- at exactly the same point in time. By attaching a probability to each of these states, a single qubit can therefore process a wide range of values. In turn, this may allow some future quantum computers to be orders of magnitude more powerful than their conventional, purely digital counterparts when performing certain computational tasks.

The fact that qubits are more "smears of probability" than definitive, black-and-white certainties is exceptionally weird. Flip a coin and it cannot come up both heads and tails simultaneously, and yet the quantum state of a qubit can in some senses do just that. It is therefore hardly surprising that renowned nuclear physicist Niels Bohr once stated that "anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it!"

Quantum computers are likely to compliment rather than replace traditional or "classical" computers, and have the potential to be transform activities such as molecular modelling and artificial intelligence. You can learn more about quantum computing, and pioneering developments from IBM, D-Wave Systems, Google, Microsoft, Intel and Alibaba, in this video:



Websites, press releases and articles referred to in the video are as follows:

Other sources you may find useful include:

Hardware image

Quantum computers store and process information using quantum-mechanical states.


LEARN MORE IN THIS BOOK

Digital Genesis

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