Ever since Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada on his visit to the highly reputed Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo (Ontario), laid down his concrete opinions on quantum computing, this phenomenon has spread like wildfire and it has caught the attention of the tech aficionados all over the world. The footage however was captured by Trudeau as enthusiasts don’t really know if Trudeau knows his tech or was just pretending.
Taking The Quantum Leap
Since day and age, we’ve been raised to believe that almost every computer serves the same purpose; it’s just that one maybe faster to operate than the others. Well, that bubble has effectively burst now with the influx of new technologies and innovations which has taken over the computing world of today. When it comes to quantum computing, the essence of information behaves a whole lot differently than in the conventional world.
An entity, be it a PC or an electron can belong to up to a million different states. Not just that, it can also be applied to a super-position of those states which gives the entire system a sense of leverage and some handsome room to manoeuvre from input to the output. One can deem it similar to the case of Houdini picking a lock from an underwater shackle escape act. The ability to move freely will enable you to do and achieve so much more than if you were trapped. However, it’s not a matter of moving at a faster speed, but a matter of traversing spaces in different ways.
Before you get bummed down by all the formal and complexities of the matter at hand, let us first address the elephant in the room.
What Does Quantum Computing Mean?
Quantum computing is the application of highly complex and advanced laws of quantum mechanics with the purpose of processing critical information. Conventionally, a PC or a computer would process long tail strings of simple ‘bits’, which have the capability to encode and process either a one or a zero. However, a quantum computer will be able to process qubits or quantum bits. A ‘qubit’ is a part of a quantum system which will process and encode the one and the zero using 2 completely unique quantum states. That being said, because of the fact qubits tend to behave quantumly, the phenomenon of superposition and entanglement can be applied here. Well, all these terms might be looking mundane on the eyes, but if you’ve ever read basic quantum mechanics material, you would know the gravity of what we’re dealing with here.
Superposition & Entanglement
The ability of a quantum system to exist in more than one state at the same time instantaneously is known as superposition. For example, an entity can be ‘up’ and down’, ‘here’ and ‘there’ at one point of time.
Informally, entanglement denotes the highly cohesive and sturdy relationship between 2 quantum particles, so much so, that even if the particles are separated by huge distances and other matter in between, they can be relentlessly linked in seamless unison acting in tandem with each other i.e. the particles will still exist in perfect co-relation even if they’re placed at the opposite ends of the system. No wonder the great Albert Einstein labelled entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.”
Why do these terms matter? This is because superposition and entanglement has enabled a quantum computer to perform intrinsic multiple calculations instantaneously. Certain chores are ‘impossible’ for a conventional computer will be fulfilled with seamless ease by a quantum computing enabled computer.
Perks Of A Quantum Computer Over A Classical Computer
- Performing calculations involving large numbers
- Executing multiple tasks concurrently
- Complex Mathematics made easy
- Introduce a superior level of safe and secure cryptography
Quantum Computing & Hacking
Quantum computing will jeopardize some levels of the classical cryptography regime and render the process of ‘hacking’ a whole lot easier to execute. Our online transactions, PINs, passwords, account numbers, etc. are formed using a combination of complex numbers bundled together. Quantum mechanics will be able to decipher these hidden numbers easily to get an exact match if used in the right manner compromising our critical details to the alleged ‘hacker’. Ergo, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of quantum computing. However, there’s a flipside to it as well, as using QKD (Quantum Key Distribution), quantum mechanics will formulate a new level of cryptography protection.
Status Quo of Quantum Computing
A full fledged quantum computer might be a long term reality, but many little quantum discoveries have come to the fore, enabling scientists and researchers to benefit from their findings acting as a headway to making this possible sooner rather than later. QKD is commercially available for use along with quantum actuators and sensors which are high end tools acting as strong pillars in this grueling journey.
The quantum revolution is well and truly under way; and the infinite possibilities that lie ahead of us is a win-win situation for all us inhabitants.