Have you ever heard of Schrödinger’s cat, quantum superposition, quantum entanglement, quantum supremacy if yes! Then you’re living a very interesting life(maybe) if not, I’ve just given you a list of subjects to dwell upon on this Saturday afternoon, and thank me later to jolt your brain little and to confirm that yes there is something unusual with this world, yes my friend you were right in your brain.
1-What is quantum computing
Quantum computing harnesses quantum mechanical phenomena such as quantum superposition and quantum entanglement to perform computation at a speed that is unimaginable for even supercomputers of the day, for this it uses qubits or quantum bits instead of 0’s and 1’s bits of classical computing. These qubits can represent 0 and 1 both at the same time.
There are problems for which we have solutions but then there are bigger problems which sometimes needs a revolutionary invention to deal with, so If we go back some 50 years back in time it was almost impossible for scientists and engineers to build a real-time weather forecast system, but now with the help of supercomputers, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning we have developed such early warning systems which save lacs of lives every year, this was due to revolution in developing new computing methodologies.
So what scientists are claiming is, that this is the future of computing, and what it will bring with its development was never imagined before. And as we are reading this article, the world’s major government agencies and big fortune companies and their scientists are working on quantum computing.
Basic quantum principles:
A single qubit can represent multiple possible combinations of 1 and 0 at the same time, this property of simultaneous multiple states is called superposition, to achieve this, scientists use microwave beams and precision lasers to manipulate the states, few qubits in superposition can generate a vast number of potential outcomes simultaneously.
In simple words entanglement means attached, researchers can generate entangled pairs of qubits which means the two-member qubits exist in a single quantum state, in such a way that changing the state of one of the qubits will instantaneously change the state of the other qubit in a predictable way. Even if the qubits are separated by very long distances.
No one really knows why or how it works and some state it as a mystery and when scientists say it’s a mystery it becomes interesting. Even Albert Einstein described this phenomenon as “spooky action at a distance.” But it is this unique phenomenon that gives it, its computing prowess. The only bad news is that these quantum machines are very error-prone because of decoherence and need much research to come up with clean and fully operational quantum computing.
It’s a race between classical computer vs. quantum computing, where a programmable quantum device solves a problem which no classical computer can solve in a limited or feasible time. In October 2019, Google’s scientists claimed that they have achieved quantum supremacy and that created quite a controversy among the scientific community. Google claims that its 54 qubit processor Sycamore performed a series of computations in 200 seconds, which would have taken 10,000 years to performed by today’s fastest supercomputer on earth.
3-Who is where:
The projected quantum computing market goal is $65 billion by the end of 2030, and hence all big tech hands in the market like Google(Quantum AI Lab), Microsoft(Azure Quantum), Amazon(Amazon Braket) are hugely investing in developing quantum technology and tools. Similarly, there is a program from IBM(IBM Quantum https://www.ibm.com/quantum-computing/), it even allows people to signup for access to its cloud-based quantum machine which allows people to run quantum algorithms and quantum circuits, which you can try right away.
4-Race among countries:
India’s latest budget, announces a commitment of US$1.12 billion over five years as part of its national quantum mission. In 2016, Europe pledged US$1.13 billion for the development of quantum technologies. President of the US, Donald Trump signed a bill in 2018, to invest US$1.2 billion over five years in a national quantum initiative, Russia is also spending the equivalent of dollars on quantum technologies, and the race is on.
5-Lastly, I’ll leave you with Schrodinger’s cat–
A cat is placed in a steel box alongside a Geiger counter, a vial of poison, a hammer, and a radioactive substance. When the radioactive substance decays, the Geiger detects it and triggers the hammer to release the poison, which subsequently kills the cat. The disintegration is a random process, and there’s no direct or indirect way to predict when it’ll happen. Physicists say the atom exists in a state referred to as a superposition—both decayed and not decayed at a similar time.
Until the box is opened, an observer doesn’t know whether the cat is alive or dead—because the cat’s fate is intrinsically tied as to whether or not the atom has decayed and thus the cat would, as Schrödinger put it, be “living and dead … in equal parts” until it’s observed.
In other words, until the box was opened, the cat’s state is totally unknown, and therefore, the cat is taken into account to be both alive and dead at an equivalent time until it’s observed.
Author – Ritesh Ojha