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.

**Conclusion**

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

**Written by:**

ASHVIN VERMA (7-K), ASHAY SRIVASTAVA (7-I), ANGAD SINGH (7-C)