What exactly is quantum computing? Should we be exploring its possibilities?
A number of high-profile companies (Google, Microsoft and IBM) as well as the U.S. government have started investing heavily in the development of what is being heralded as the new era of super-fast computing technology: quantum computers.
While some people think quantum refers to something really, really small, in this case, it refers to the strange quantum properties like entanglement and superposition, where particles can teleport, travel backwards in time, and be entangled with distant particle.
While computing as we know it today is based on ones and zeros, or “bits” of information, quantum computing is based on a quantum bit, or qubit, which theoretically, could exist simultaneously in several states at once.
This means a quantum computer wouldn’t be constrained by a computer’s need to perform calculations sequentially, and would be much faster at things like performing rapid searches of giant databases, or factoring large numbers super fast. This might not seem like a big deal, but these are the exact kinds of tasks that take classical computer processors a really long time.
Because manipulating matter on a quantum scale is still very difficult, it’s important to remember that right now this is all theoretical.
While lots of money is being poured into quantum computer research, we’re still years off from having any kind of tech based on any quantum principles. Can you think of any other practical applications of quantum computing? Be sure to let us know in the comments down below!