Author Archives: Ayush Singla

Exun e-Lite Programming Round 2 Instructions

Congratulations! You qualified for the semi – finals!

You all now have around 5 2 days left to learn a programming language, if you don’t know one already. We recommend you start with either C++ or Python, but C and Java work as well. Here are some tutorials to get you started:

C++: Do this course till Module 4 (inclusive).
Python: Do this one till Module 10 (inclusive).

Once you’re done learning these, head over to the HackerRank, CodeChef or SPOJ, create an account, and do the Warm Up and Beginner exercises. These kinds of problems are the ones which you will be tested on, not programming theory. The above modules are just so you can learn how to use a language.

If you still have time, learn elementary topics like Binary Search and sorting a number.

Of course, if you’re stuck, message our FB page or mail us at We’ll help you out.

Update: You can code in online editors like to code online and then save your work locally. If you want to keep it local, use IDEs like Code::Blocks for C/C++, IDLE for Python and IntelliJ for Java.

Update 2: Check out the updated paragraph above. Get cracking on the practice, only 2 days are left! Again, clear any doubts you might have by contacting us!

Good Luck!

Exun e-Lite 2017 Senior Programming Preliminary Round Results

The following students have qualified for the next round of Senior Programming:

  1. Yajur Tayal 10 F
  2. Hritik Arya 10 K
  3. Akshat 10 A
  4. Aditya Vikram Singh 11 I
  5. Siddhant Parekh 10 L
  6. Naman Dhingra 10 A
  7. Dhruv Sharma 11 M
  8. Aditya Agrawal 10 F
  9. Adhya Sharma 11 L
  10. Bharat Goyal 10 A
  11. Harsh Verdhan 11 L
  12. Hriday Gupta 11 K
  13. Chitra Tewari 11 J
  14. Uday Dhawan 11 K
  15. Chitraditya Negi 11 J
  16. Anshul Agarwala 11 F
  17. Aditya Jarodiya 9 F
  18. Aniruddha Sen 10 K
  19. Sahil Gupta 11 L
  20. Vaibhav Sharma 11 K
  21. Shikhar Sarangi 9 I
  22. Sanath Jathanna 9 C
  23. Vibhu Dubey 11 H
  24. Nishant Dhankhar 10 I
  25. Chirag Garg 11 J
  26. Vedant Trivedi 10 G

Congratulations! Refer to the post here for further instructions.

USB Type-C: A (confusing) breakthrough

Lately, a new port has become one of the seemingly ‘universal’ ports – the USB Type-C (or simply USB-C) port. Is this real innovation that helps simplify lives, or is it all about the jumbled fuss of more cables and adapters? Let’s find out.

First of all, some clarification

The USB specification is fragmented and confusing, so first, we’ll need to clarify a common misunderstanding.

There is one thing you need to keep in mind: there are two different specifications that this article will explain simultaneously – the USB protocol specification and the USB port specification.

USB Protocol Specification specifies the available bandwidth, power limits and capabilities of the USB connection. These are numeric, like USB 1.0, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 etc.

USB Port Specification refers to the size and shape of the physical USB ports, and the pins in these ports. There are alphabetic, like USB Type-A, USB Type-B, USB Type-C (or simply UBS-A, USB-B and USB-C). Some of these ports also have a mini or micro version, like Micro-USB A, Mini-USB B etc.

This article will go through the details of these specifications later. For now, just remember that numbered specification/version (like USB 2.0) refer to the USB Protocol, while alphabetic specifications (like USB-C) refer to the physical port used for the connection.

A Brief History of USB

Development on the Universal Serial Bus (USB) started in 1994-1995 by several companies including IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Compaq, with Ajay Bhatt being a major contributor in the development. The goal was to have a simple & universal connector to connect peripheral devices.


Further development on USB and newer specifications has been summarized in the following table.

This icon refers to a USB Port Specification This icon refers to a USB Protocol Specification


Time USB Specification Features
1996 USB 1.0 Two speed modes:

  • Low Speed mode – upto 1.5 Megabits per second (Mbps)
  • Full Speed mode – upto 12 Mbps

Upto 2.5W power transfer at 5V (500mA max)

USB 1.0 certification logo

USB Type-A First connector under the USB standard, supported USB 1.0, USB 1.1 and USB 2.0. It has 4 pins – 2 for power and 2 for data.

USB-A connector

1998 USB 1.1 Fixed some problems with USB 1.0, mainly with USB Hubs.

Widely adopted by manufacturers.

April 2000 USB 2.0

(aka High-Speed USB)

First major revision of the USB Protocol.

Transfer rate of upto 480 Mbps, same power delivery specifications as USB 1.0.

USB 2.0 certification logo

Late 2000 Mini-USB Type-A Not very popular, rarely seen on devices.

Mini-USB A Connector

USB Type-B Square port connector, still commonly used in printers and scanners. Supports USB 1.0, USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 connections.

USB-B connector

Mini-USB Type-B It was commonly seen in feature phones. Rarely used now.

Mini-USB B connector

2007 Micro-USB Type-B

(popularly called Micro-USB)

Very popular, especially in portable devices such as phones and tablets. Claimed a life of upto 10,000 insertion-removal cycles.

Micro-USB B connector

2008 USB 3.0

(aka SuperSpeed USB)

(Later unnecessarily renamed to USB 3.1 Gen 1)

Transfer speeds of upto 5 Gigabits per second (Gbps).

New Power Delivery standards, allowing upto 7.5W at 5V (1.5A max)

USB 3.0 certification logo

Revised SuperSpeed connectors To achieve higher bandwidth, USB 3.0 requires 5 more pins than USB 2.0-compatible ports have. Thus, new port connectors were introduced with 5 more pins. The best thing is that all these port connectors are backwards compatible with their respective USB 2.0 versions.

SuperSpeed USB-A connector (Many manufacturers made SuperSpeed USB-A ports blue to differentiate them from slower USB-A ports)

Note: SuperSpeed USB-A connector also supported USB 3.1 Gen 2 released later

SuperSpeed USB-B connector

SuperSpeed Micro-USB B connector

July 2013 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Greater transfer speeds of upto 10 Gbps

Newer power delivery standards, allowing upto 60W at 12V (max 5A) or 100W at 20V (max 5A). This is a leapfrog improvement over previous power delivery standards, and it allows ultrabooks and laptops to be charged via USB.

Works on USB-A and USB-C connectors.

USB 3.1 Gen 2 certification logo

August 2014 USB Type-C USB Type-C aimed to be the One Port to Rule Them All

First ever reversible USB connector.

Miniature form factor, allowing thinner ultrabooks and other mobile devices.

Compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 2 and all previous USB Protocol Standards.

Since USB-C supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, it supports power delivery upto 100W. This enables modern ultrabooks and laptops to be charged via a USB-C port. (Like Apple’s new MacBook has a single USB-C port for charging and data transfer).

USB-C connector

What the fuss is all about – Thunderbolt

From the table above, USB-C seems pretty straightforward – it supports upto 10 Gbps transfer speed and upto 100W power delivery because it runs on USB 3.1 Gen 2. But since don’t we live in a non-ideal world, things don’t end here.

In 2011, Apple and Intel introduced a new interface to connect peripherals and displays – Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is very different from (and also faster than) USB because runs on the PCIe interface. PCIe is the ‘backbone’ interface on the motherboard, onto which essential devices such as Graphics Cards and Sound Cards are connected. Thunderbolt has had two revisions since the initial release – conveniently named Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt 1 & Thunderbolt 2 utilized the Mini DisplayPort connector.

Thunderbolt 1/2 connector (same as a Mini DisplayPort connector)

Now comes the fussy part – Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt 3 supports bi-directional transfers upto 40 Gbps. Instead of using the Mini DisplayPort Connector, Thunderbolt 3 utilizes the USB-C connector.


Thunderbolt 3 connector (same as USB-C connector)

USB-C ended up being a modern, compact and reversible connector used for two completely different interfaces – USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3, which has led to some confusion among customers. Thankfully, since Thunderbolt 3 is superior to USB 3.1, most (if not all) Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports also support USB 3.1 Gen 2.

Left – A USB 3.1 Gen 2 port on a desktop

Right – A Thunderbolt 3 port on an ultrabook

Visually, the two can’t be told apart because both interfaces use the same physical connector

A Potential Threat to Gaming Laptops

Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) or Graphics Cards are pieces of hardware that make your machine capable of rendering models/simulations and running high-end games. Conventionally, there were dedicated Gaming Laptops with powerful GPUs. One major drawback of gaming laptops is that they are thick and bulky and heavy because of the powerful internals, bigger batteries to power high-end GPUs and better cooling systems.

In 2014, gaming laptops and desktops manufacturer Alienware demoed its Alienware Graphics Amplifier, the first-ever commercially available way to attach graphics cards externally. This opened a possibility for portable laptops that can be connected or docked to External Graphics Cards. The Alienware Graphics Amplifier uses a proprietary connector to connect a desktop Graphic Card to a laptop (over the previously mentioned PCIe interface).

The Alienware Graphics Amplifier with a high-end desktop GPU connected to an Alienware laptop using a proprietary connector

Since Graphics Cards need to run on the PCIe interface, Thunderbolt 3 (which also supports PCIe)and USB-C have made standardized External GPU solutions a reality. The Razer Core is a standard External GPU solution that can be used to attach a desktop GPU to any laptop with Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C (This won’t work over a USB-C port with just USB 3.1).

The Razer Core connected to an ultrabook over Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C

External GPUs pose a threat to future gaming laptops, since they enable portable ultrabooks to be even more powerful than conventional gaming laptops by just plugging in a USB-C cable. With this, a single machine can be the best of both worlds – an ultraportable device when mobile, and a powerful gaming beast when docked.

In Conclusion

Although the USB standards have been regularly updated, this time is different. We now have a small, reversible connector that enables completely new interfaces and connections – from faster storage devices to monitors with more resolution, and from laptop chargers to external graphics cards – all over a single mighty port, USB-C. This versatility also ensured that the breakthrough USB-C is a confusing addition to the already-confusing family of USB ports and protocols.

Recalling Exun Memories

When I talk about Exun, it can never be in singular. Exun’s motto truly defined the time I spent as part of the clan, because I never did anything alone! Dhruv (Kumar), Abhishek (Suri), and I, joined Exun together in 2001 and never looked back.

Back then, we had no idea what Exun was, we had just heard about 2 seniors who bagged a foreign visit because they made a website, and Suri got us together. We went straight to Mrs. Chona (our principal at the time), and she directed us to Mukesh Sir. After a few failed attempts at making a website using Windows 95, Internet Explorer 5, our broken knowledge of HTML and Floppy Disks, we decided to abandon the project. However, given all three of us, for some odd reason, knew C++ at the time, Mukesh Sir decided to test us, but we failed miserably there as well. We must’ve tried for 2 months to clear his test, but couldn’t! He still took us in. I made it by default with Dhruv and Suri, even though I’d stopped going to the meetings with Sir.

Exun used to be extremely selective and very small at the time (28 members at the time), and we were extremely lucky to have made it. We spent the first year behind the scenes, lifting boxes, chairs, monitors and everything in our way! We didn’t even participate in any event for the first year. This was our first lesson in patience and looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Over the years, we worked extremely hard, participated in and won several events, had the time of our lives and made life long friendships. In class 12, Dhruv and I were chosen as Presidents, a dream we held since the day we joined, and I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better partner. I credit Dhruv for coming up with several new initiatives including Under_Score and a Quiz book (which never saw the light of day but is 200 pages of quizzing awesomeness). Exun was probably the best part of my school life, and I certainly miss it to this day.

Even though I was really young, and it was a long time ago, Exun has left an indelible impression on me. It was really something that gave us life lessons. The biggest lesson that none of us can ever forget is teamwork. We, not I is not just there for the sake of it. Mukesh Sir has made sure it is entrenched in our DNA, and every Exun member swears by it. Even with old alumni, this is what connects us and doesn’t bring any barriers between us.


Second, I learnt about humility and integrity. There were a few times when we were bragging about our wins and the work we were doing, and Mukesh Sir was quick to step in and put a bit of sense into us. To this day, each time I feel myself straying, takes me back to Mukesh Sir’s words. We also had immense responsibility, because our teachers put immense trust in us with confidential data and processes, and none of us ever thought of breaking that trust.

Last but not least, my biggest lesson was really the thrill of being the underdog. My life’s motivation has always come from being the underdog, when I’ve been at the lowest and then with confidence and grit made it back.  Amongst all the events we did that, the one that is etched in memory is TCS IT Wiz 2006. Dhruv and I, somehow managed to qualify amongst 700 other amazing teams, and then Dhruv decided to vanish (because he hadn’t told his mom he was going for the quiz, and never imagined he would qualify). I was amongst the finalist teams, alone! And was nowhere in contention till the last round, but the Exun spirit  (and crowd support), kept me alive and I managed to place second (Dhruv was there in spirit)! All alone! That was the moment I realized that nothing is impossible and one should never give up. And the very next day, we went for another quiz where we didn’t even manage to qualify. (talk about highs and lows!)

Years later, when I was sitting for job interviews, I went through 4 terrible interviews and had almost given up, and had only last chance to secure a job. Even during the interview, things were not going too well and the interviewer had already interrupted me twice, but I managed to get through it and got the offer!

Over the years, my exun classmates have gone on to become Watchmakers at Apple, and amazing engineers and I steered off to work at a bank, but our friendship is intact. We always pick up from where we left off, usually over a bucket of KFC!

I am also absolutely blown away by the things that the current batch of Exun members is achieving. I feel out of place when I meet all of them! It’s truly awe-inspiring, keep up the good work guys!

Here’s to forever being an EXpert Unlimited!

WE, not I.


The Ultimate Laptop Guide

All of us have laptops, but do all of us know what they’re really about? In this guide we’ll explain how to get a great laptop for your specific needs at a budget for YOU.

Let’s start by explaining what the ‘specs” of a laptop really mean. We’ll break down your laptop’s components and their subcomponents, and walk through some of the best available options in the market.

  1. CPU – A CPU is the main component of a laptop which carries out all operationcores. The processing speed of the computer is directly dependent on its CPU.

To measure how the CPUs actually performs, go to benchmarking websites like Geekbench 3 Browser and search for the CPU model.

A CPU has four main things to look for:

  1. Cores: A ‘core’ is exactly what it sounds like. A central component that is responsible for delivering all instructions. So a Dual Core system has 2 cores working simultaneously whereas a Quad has 4.
  1. Clock Frequency: As you might guess, it is the speed of the CPU. But it isn’t exactly the processing speed of CPU. It is rate of the clock cycles in a certain time period. Designers divide each instruction into clock cycles, so, better architectures will take lesser clock cycles to perform same instruction. 1 GHz means a billion clock cycles cycles in a second.
  1. CPU Cache: The cache is like the CPU’s handbook. If it needs to search for some data in the main memory (RAM), it first checks whether it is there in its cache so it might take lesser time, although, if it is not there then it searches in main memory. The cache helps in reducing time spent for retrieving data.
  1. Architecture: It refers to the efficient technology of the processor and the size of the transistors. Smaller transistors means less heat and less electricity usage.

Some recent Architectures from Intel Are:

  1. Nahlem (45nm transistor size)
  2. Sandybridge (32nm transistor size)
  3. Ivy bridge (22nm transistor size)
  4. Hasewell (22nm transistor size)
  5. Broad2qwell (14nm transistor size)
  6. Skylake (14nm transistor size)
  7. Kaby Lake (14nm transistor size)

The 2 giants making CPUs for laptops are Intel and AMD.

Intel Atom: They are low power CPUs made for low power devices with less heat and longer battery. But, they sometimes lag because of low speed on Windows.

Intel Core M series: They are extremely efficient and less power consuming CPUs made for convertible laptops, tablets, and pocket PCs. It does not require cooling. They give speed comparable to other Core CPUs because of good use of Intel TurboBoost 3.0 technology.

Intel Celeron: It’s Intel’s line of entry level CPUs. They don’t use many new technologies which makes it a little cheaper and slower alternative to Pentium.

Intel Pentium: It’s Intel’s series of budget CPUs. The same name has been continued for more than 2 decades so don’t be fooled by it and don’t think they are same as old processors, the new generation Pentiums pack enough power to perform basic tasks well. They now come in Quad Core models but are still inferior to Dual Core i3 because it uses comparatively inferior technologies.

Intel Core i3: It is Intel’s line of CPUs designed for average usage. They are able to perform all general tasks smoothly and also allows for casual gaming. From 2nd generation onwards, they have 2 hyperthreaded cores come with integrated graphics to help in producing sharp images.

Intel Core i5: It is Intel’s line of mainstream CPUs. They run tasks effortlessly and allow to play recent games at low to medium settings. From 2nd Generation onwards, they have 2 hyperthreaded cores. In 6th Generation, they also have models with 4 cores (with Q in the model name).  It also uses Intel Turbo Boost technology to increase CPU clock speed when demand is high and save power when demand is low.

Intel Core i7: It is Intel’s line of high end CPUs. They are able to do large work rapidly and perform well in gaming. From 2nd Generation onwards, it comes in models with 4 hyperthreaded cores and some with 2 hyperthreaded cores. They also support Intel Turbo Boost Technology. The quad core models are designed for gaming and workstations where speed is more important than heating or electricity usage. The dual core models are made to work on lesser power.

AMD: They were founded just a year after Intel and focus on providing cheaper alternatives.

  1. RAM: Random Access Memory a.k.a System Memory is the Memory which is placed between storage and CPU. It contains data and applications in use. If RAM is not enough, the system has to put the data or applications in the Storage. The speed of RAM is much faster than Storage. (It is roughly 100 times faster than HDD and 10 times faster than SSD). So, if the RAM is less, the CPU will have to wait for the storage to send and receive data, which will decrease overall speed even if the processor is good.

A 32-bit architecture computer can utilise upto 2^ 4GB RAM

  1. Storage:
    1. Hard Disk Drives are traditional storage devices. They have large capacities at cheap rates. Their speed is however, a bit slow (around 50MB/s) because they use a physical disk and a mechanical arm which move to access data stored, it takes time for them to move which results in low speed.
    2. Solid State Drives are modern storage devices without any moving parts. Hence, they are much faster than HDD (about 200 to 500MB/s) but are more expensive due to new technology. SSD makes retrieving files faster which results in faster startup of the laptop and faster opening of large files.
  1. Screen:
    1. Size:

Average to large screens are helpful in working in corporate databases and Excel files. They are useful in Gaming too, as the player can see all elements of the game. Large screens also help in graphic designing as you can place all toolbars on the larger screen.

Large screens, however, result in bulkiness and a bit difficulty in carrying around.

Small screens work well for normal web surfing and light work etc.

  1. Resolution:

It is measured as number of pixels eg: 1920*1080 (FullHD), 1280*720(HD) etc. Larger screens require more pixels to give a sharp image. The sharpness of image is measured as Pixel density as Pixels Per Inch (ppi).

  1. Ports:
    1. RJ-45 (LAN): This is also known as ethernet. It connects the cable from the router to your laptop incase WiFi doesn’t work.
    2. HDMI: High Definition Media Interface is used in projectors or external monitors / TVs to connect with your laptop. It is used to present in seminars, or to get a larger screen to work.
    3. Mini DisplayPort: DisplayPort is a speedy and versatile interface for video output. If you’re buying an ultrabook, be sure it has Mini DisplayPort output.
    4. VGA: Visual Graphics Array is used to connect with old monitors and projectors. Not used very often these days.
    5. USB: Universal Serial Bus is an interface which is used in many devices, ranging from Pen Drives to Dongles to Smartphones to Printers to external mouse, keyboard and many more peripherals. Be sure to have atleast 2-3 USB ports to connect multiple peripherals simultaneously.
    6. Thunderbolt: If you want a future-proof gaming laptop, be sure to buy one with a Thunderbolt 3 port. Thunderbolt 3 enables you to connect desktop graphics cards externally, so you can game without compromise and upgrade your graphics performance as time goes on. Thunderbolt 3 uses USB-C connector, but a USB-C port on a laptop doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a Thunderbolt 3 port (It can also be a USB 3.1 gen 2 port) [more on this in the article about USB-C]. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s website whether the laptop has Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 gen 2, or none.
  1. 3.5mm Jacks: They are used to connect audio devices like headphones and speakers. It generally had 2 ports, one for audio in and one for out. But, new devices come one single port which can do both input and output.
  2. Card Reader: All in one card readers are used to read storage cards of various sizes from devices like camera etc., so you can directly read data from the device’s memory.
  1. Now, here is our suggestion of laptops and their specs on the basis of the usage
  1. General Purposes
    1. Basic User: For those who use their laptops for watching videos, writing simple documents, using the internet, writing mails etc

Recommended Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Pentium Quad Core or Intel Core i3 (4th or later Generation) or AMD A8
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3
  • Storage: 500GB Hard Disk Drive
  • Screen: 11” to 15.6” 1280*720 to 1366*736 resolution
  • Price: Rs 17,000 to Rs 25,000


  • Lenovo Ideapad 100        
    • Price: Rs. 18,000
    • Specifications: Intel Pentium N3540; 4GB DDR3 RAM;  500GB HDD; 15.6” screen @ 1366 x 768
  • Acer Aspire R 11 R3-131T
    • Price: Rs.24,000
    • Specifications: Intel Pentium N3700; 4GB DDR3L RAM; 500GB HDD; 11.6” Screen @ 1366×768
  • Dell Inspiron 3551
    • Price: Rs.25,000
    • Specifications: Intel Pentium N3540; 4GB DDR3 RAM; 500GB HDD; 15.6” Screen @ 1366 x 768
  1. Average User: For those who use their laptops for writing some emails, downloading videos and music, viewing websites, making presentations, casual gaming etc.

Recommended Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i3 or i5 (4th Generation or later)
  • RAM: 4GB or 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1 TeraByte Hard Disk Drive
  • Screen: 14” to 15.6” on 1280*720 to 1366*768 Resolution.
  • Price: Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 35,000

Suggestions :

  • Lenovo G50-80
  • Price: Rs 26,000
  • Specifications: i3-5005U; 4GB RAM; 1TB HDD; 15.6” Screen @ 1366*768p
  • Dell Inspiron 3558 Notebook

    • Price: Rs.33,000
    • Specifications: Intel core i3(5th Gen); 4GB DDR3 RAM; 1TB HDD; 15.6” Screen @ 1366*768p
  1. Business User: For those who use their laptops for business purposes like writing large emails, researching websites, uploading and downloading presentations and videos, installing business related software, working on large excel files, making big ppts etc.

Recommended Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 (4th Generation or later)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1 TeraByte Hard Disk Drive or 256GB Solid State Drive
  • Screen: 15.6” on 1366*768 to 1920*1080 resolution
  • Price: Rs 30,000 to Rs. 45,000


  • Mac Book Pro(This is an exception)
    • Price: Rs. 79,000
    • Specifications: Intel Core i5; 4GB DDR3; 500GB HDD; 13” @ 1280X800
  • HP 15-BE002TX
    • Price: Rs. 48,000
    • Specifications: Intel Core i5; 8GB DDR4; 1TB HDD; 15.6” @ 1366*786

Thank you for reading our article and we hope that you can make the right choices now!


Written by:

Aditya Singh, Josh Randhawa, Shreyas Kishore

Quantum Computing

There’s been a huge buzz about quantum computers recently. Here is what the fuss is over and how it may or may not affect you.

In traditional computers, each transistor has 2 states. In quantum computers, the number of states is 2n , where n is the number of quantum states. This is called a quantum bit or “qubit”. Where earlier you would have 16 pairs of states to choose from, in quantum computing this number is a staggering 4294967296, 268435456 times more! Now that’s a lot of computing power!


This will help a lot in simulations of quantum particles, optimization problems(like finding the overall cheapest way of travel) and analytics which will utilize the quantum superposition property properly, as an extremely large amount of outcomes will be tested at the same time. This would mean an incredible lapse in security and in turn,privacy(due to many possible ‘decryption keys’ being tested at one time) but that is a topic for later. Its effect will be felt across industries.

The Future: Quantum Computing

There’s been a huge buzz about quantum computers recently. Here is what the fuss is over and how it may or may not affect you.

The Turing System of Computing

In traditional (Turing) computers, there are 2 absolute basic states: 0 & 1. This is called the binary system, wherein 0 means off, 1 means on. Although computers perform extremely complex calculations, it all starts here. This simple base soon evolves into rather complicated structures. But this system is reaching its limit with transistors reaching the size of an atom, beyond which this system won’t work(due to a phenomenon called quantum tunneling) thus proving Moore’s Law (in a year processors will be become twice as fast at the same cost) invalid.

The Quantum System of Computing

In the quantum system, transistors are traded in for electrons. Electrons have 2 “spin” states (like a 0 and 1), but unlike tradition computers, electrons attain a superposition when they are not observed. They can be in both states at the same time. Sounds crazy, right? If we utilize this property, operations would be exponentially faster, to the tune of a 100 million times our current speed!

The Quantum Leap

In traditional computers, each transistor has 2 states. In quantum computers, the number of states is 2n , where n is the number of quantum states. This is called a quantum bit or “qubit”. Where earlier you would have 16 pairs of states to choose from, in quantum computing this number is a staggering 4294967296, 268435456 times more! Now that’s a lot of computing power!

What this means

This will help a lot in simulations of quantum particles, optimization problems(like finding the overall cheapest way of travel) and analytics which will utilize the quantum superposition property properly, as an extremely large amount of outcomes will be tested at the same time. This would mean an incredible lapse in security and in turn,privacy(due to many possible ‘decryption keys’ being tested at one time) but that is a topic for later. Its effect will be felt across industries.

What this doesn’t mean

This doesn’t mean an improvement in everyday tasks like browsing the web or writing documents. Sorry, no faster video-streaming or such. Also if you see the requirements of a quantum computer you will see that probably exceeds your budget by a lot. Seriously.

The Challenge

The challenge is to effectively use the quantum

property of superposition. Unlike our home computers, which are cooled by fans, the quantum computers need to be cooled with cryogenic machines. The quantum processors themselves require very less space and wattage and aren’t very expensive and it is actually the cryogenic engines which require huge amounts of storage, wattage and money(to construct as well as to maintain) and so each quantum computer costs millions of dollars unlike on our everyday computers which are cheap(comparatively). The cost therefore has to be brought down.

The Race for Quantum Supremacy

The race for quantum “supremacy” is the one to build a proper quantum computer. Google and IBM are the leaders in the race for quantum supremacy. They have been trying to make their own quantum computer and Google has recently created its own quantum chip, though it is still pretty primitive. IBM, which has also been creating one, has opened it up publicly for people to use through their cloud interface. This is only for consumers who have an idea of the use of quantum computing, not a regular home software. Also right now their quantum computers are extremely primitive so they can only perform very specific tasks.


So you see we can’t safely say that we will have proper quantum computers in the immediate future. But we’re getting there.

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