Quantum Computing: The Greatest Invention of the Next Decade

Quantum computer is basically a computation device that is made to directly use quantum-mechanical phenomena to operate data. Unlike today's computer, quantum computers keep data in qubits (quantum bits), whereas digital computers use binary digits (bits). This change in the way the computers handle data, is the key difference in why Quantum computing is far superior to today's computer. Quantum computing was first proposed in 1985 by British scientist David Deutsch, and has its roots in Quantum Physics. It uses some quantum properties of atoms and nuclei and make them work together as “qubits”. Qubits interact with each other while they are totally isolated from the external environment. While traditional computers use bits that are either 1 or 0, ("on" or "off"; "true" or "false) and can calculate only a single set or numbers at a time, Quantum computers encode data in a series of quantum-mechanical states that may either represent 1 or 0, a combination of both, or any number between 0 and 1\. More importantly, however, the quantum computer has to be able to represent the data as a 0 and 1 _simultaneously. _Essentially, this means the computer would be able to multi-task. ![binaryWallpaperscaryWoman](http://liquidthink.net/uploads/oldImg/binaryWallpaper-1024x768.jpg) Sound confusing? Well, it really isn't. A popular analogy to explain this phenomenon goes like this: [![Dizzying minecraft Maze](http://liquidthink.net/uploads/oldImg/DizzyingMinecraftMaze-300x154.jpg)](http://liquidthink.net/uploads/2014/08/DizzyingMinecraftMaze.jpg) Imagine yourself in a maze. Right in the middle. Now, this isin't just _some_ maze, this is a gigantic maze. Obviously, there is a problem: you have to find a way out. So you start trying. You go one way-- dead end. You try another-- dead end again. This time, you try another way, and get a little farther-- but, alas, another dead end. The only way to get out of the maze, however, is to just keep trying. This is basically how the current computer works-- it does one operation at a time, and tries many possibilities, but does it very fast. Imagine yourself in the maze again, but this time there are multiple "copies" of you, and you have to investigate all the possibilities of the maze again, but this time, you can investigate all of them _at once. _Obviously, this would dramatically decrease the time that it takes to find the solution. this is, on a basic level, how a quantum computer would work. The idea is that multiple atom particles can be in multiple places at once and "converse" with each other. This maze, however, even for today's average computer would be easy to solve, due to it's limited possibilities. Real-world problems with many more possibilities (we are talking in the trillions here-- maybe even higher) would take a quantum computer. This is where it starts to get interesting. Because of a Quantum Computers potential computing power, it would dramatically change the entire scientific and technological world. [![Picture Credit goes to http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/](http://liquidthink.net/uploads/oldImg/xenobiology_by_abiogenisis-300x168.jpg)](http://liquidthink.net/uploads/2014/08/xenobiology_by_abiogenisis.jpg) Just imagine something that has a gigantic, tremendous, or seemingly-near-infinite amount of possibilities-- a quantum computer probably would be able to handle that. Safer airplanes as a result of computing all possible airplane paths, calculating to a greater extent consumer spending and in turn boosting the GDP of a country, being able to distinguish distinct car paths and allowing a computer to differentiate land-objects and the road, paving the way for better self-automated cars. What might be most amazing, however, would be the much heightened ability to detect distinct planets in outer-space. A quantum computer would be able to quickly analyze the vast amounts of data from a telescope, allowing humans to further their efforts into conquering the unknown. The list goes on -- from more intuitive cancer diagnostics, to amazingly accurate weather forecasting (a short google search would yield many things which quantum computers could be used for). There is no doubt that Quantum Computing would change the world as we know it. It is amazing how science changes our world and how this method, put in much simpler terms than it really is, of handling data allows Quantum Computers to perform calculations leagues more efficiently and faster than the conventional computers we use in our homes today. Simply, this way of attributing and handling data allows the computer to do much more at once which consequently increases computing speed. Though the theory of a quantum computer may sound simple, to put it into practice is a totally different story. Scientists have been studying this for years, and have yet to create a true quantum computer. Some may argue that the "Quantum Computer by D-Wave" is a quantum computer, though in reality it is only psuedo-quantum and is really only a very powerful supercomputer, and does not compute as fast a real quantum computer would be able to (though this is to be saved for another post). This article touched only on the surface and very basics of what quantum computing is; to go more in depth would probably require a book-- or maybe a series of blog posts. ;) So stay tuned for more, and subscribe to the technology newsletter below!

© 2014, insidious All Rights Reserved.

Andrew Plaza

Nerdy Tech fanatic interested in the intricacies of life, technology, and high existence.

comments powered by Disqus