Quantum computing takes a leap forward

Quantum computing is the technique of developing smarter computers based on the principles of quantum theory, which compares the nature and behavior of energy and matter on the quantum (atomic and subatomic) level to its operation. The main aim of this technology is to develop a supercomputer that does complex computations in few seconds.

Unlike currently used classical computing that runs everything from phones to laptops, quantum computing can play an unimaginable role in future developments. Quantum computers could potentially solve problems that are too difficult to be solved with modern technologies and can be used to solve problems related to all domains like energy, power, healthcare, travel, automobiles, communication, and many more domains. They could also help improve existing advanced technologies like machine learning, deep learning, and other complex computing-related technologies. For a long period, these remained only imaginary and hypothetical theory.

Why Quantum needs rethinking?

But the time has changed, with the advent of many private and governmental organizations investing a huge amount of time and money on this technique. Google, IBM, Intel along with other tech giants have displayed quantum processor devices that are the building blocks of quantum computers. Scientific journal named Nature published an article on Google’s efforts to build a quantum computer named ‘Quantum Supremacy’. A part of workflow, the chip, that they developed, Sycamore, demonstrates supremacy by successfully performing a test computation in just 200 seconds that would have taken the best-known algorithms in the most powerful supercomputers thousands of years to accomplish and take output. It is because a bit in a classical computer can store information as 0 or 1.  

Credits:Tweak Town

Whereas, a quantum bit or ‘qubit’ can have both 0 and 1 at the same time. This property is called superposition. So if you have one quantum bit, there are two possible states that you can put in superposition, and those grow exponentially. This enables quantum computers to process multiple inputs simultaneously. For example, a 10-qubit quantum computer could process 210, or 1024, possible inputs at once instead of analyzing them one at a time. Thus with additional computational states in superposition, a quantum computer can simultaneously explore a rich space to develop multitude of solutions to a problem. It can make even complex technologies like machine learning and deep learning a piece of cake.

How does it work?

Though it will take a long time for developing smaller, accurate, and error-correcting
Quantum computing  , yet experts are working hard trying to develop ways to use existing quantum processors to solve useful problems despite limitations due to errors or noise. Though quantum computers are expected to be able to carry out many different kinds of calculations faster and efficient than the classical computers in use today, they are similar to classical computers. However, in that, they run algorithms by using the principle of logic gates or so-called “quantum gates,” which together form a quantum circuit. But today it is the problem of design and idea of quantum computers but the efficient development of quantum computers and processors. It is difficult for scientists and developers to design a noise-free system that can handle advanced computation in real-time. Yet, it is difficult to develop these things without noise and errors. Also, scientists have difficulty designing shorter and more accurate circuits.

The developments

Further to its advancements in various domains, a team of Virginia Tech chemistry and physics researchers have designed an advanced quantum simulation by devising an algorithm that can more efficiently calculate the properties of molecules on a noisy quantum computer in no time. In addition to grants from the US government, they also recently established a partnership with tech giant IBM and has provided their hardware support to them as a part of their mission.

Credits: Scientific American


In the race for supremacy, it is Google which is currently in the driver’s seat, though IBM who is also in this race, strongly states that Google cannot build a supercomputer that can solve complex problems in 200 seconds. Google currently has partnerships with NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] to develop quantum computers that can help them in their space missions, discoveries, and researches. The Google computer cannot correct errors automatically, which is not the key feature of a full-fledged Quantum computing. That requires encoding a single, more stable “logical” qubit in several less reliable “physical” ones, to enable the machine to maintain quantum states much longer.

Wrap Up

However, Google’s achievement may put the company in an ideal position to demonstrate in this domain beyond all its contenders. This achievement is the result of years of research and the dedication of many hard-working scientists and developers. Also, it has lead to figuring out how to put this technology to work practically. All tech giants are working with their research community and have open-sourced tools to enable others to work alongside them to identify new applications and innovative products.


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