quantum computing


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Related to quantum computing: Quantum cryptography, Quantum entanglement

quantum computing

quantum computing

A computer architecture based on quantum mechanics, the science of atomic structure and function. In the late 1990s, the feasibility of such a computer was demonstrated by MIT, the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University.

The Computations Can Be Staggering
There are many problems that bog down even the fastest supercomputers because the number of computations are so staggering. The traveling salesman route is a classic example that seeks to find the most efficient round trip between cities. With 50 cities, the number of possible routes is 63 digits long. Whereas "classical" (non-quantum) computers may take days or even months to solve problems such as these, quantum computers are expected to come up with answers in mere minutes or seconds. See binary values and rice and chessboard legend.

Qubit Superposition and Entanglement
Quantum computing uses the "qubit," or quantum bit, comprising one or more electrons, and there are various approaches to their design. Quantum superposition is the condition that allows a qubit to be a 0 and 1 at the same time (see qubit). Entanglement is the property that allows one particle to relate to another over distance.

Quantum annealing and gate model are the two major categories of quantum computers, and there is a lot of rivalry between them.

Quantum Annealing
D-Wave Systems in Canada offers the only commercial "quantum annealing" computer on the market. D-Wave computers are huge, refrigerated machines with up to 2,000 qubits that are used for optimization problems such as scheduling, financial analysis and medical research. Annealing is used to find the optimum route or the most efficient combination of settings to solve a problem.


The D-Wave Chip Is Very Cool
D-Wave's latest quantum annealing chip has 2,000 qubits. The refrigeration assembly is shown without its cover, and the chip is at the bottom. Using liquid nitrogen and liquid helium stages from top to bottom, it keeps getting colder all the way down to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit. See superconductor. (Images courtesy of D-Wave Systems, Inc., www.dwavesys.com)


The D-Wave Chip Is Very Cool
D-Wave's latest quantum annealing chip has 2,000 qubits. The refrigeration assembly is shown without its cover, and the chip is at the bottom. Using liquid nitrogen and liquid helium stages from top to bottom, it keeps getting colder all the way down to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit. See superconductor. (Images courtesy of D-Wave Systems, Inc., www.dwavesys.com)







Gate Model
Unlike the annealing method, gate model quantum computers use gates similar in concept to classical computers but with vastly different logic and entirely different architecture. Several companies are developing gate model machines, each with different qubit designs. The gates are actually created in real time by sending microwave pulses to the qubits. Gate model computers are expected to be able to factor huge numbers and should be able to crack cryptographic keys in a matter of seconds. This has foreboding implications if an attacker or enemy gains access to the technology.

IBM Q Experience in the Cloud
In 2016, IBM made a 5-qubit gate model quantum computer available in the cloud to allow scientists the opportunity of experimenting with gate model programming. A year later, the open source Qiskit development kit and a second machine with 16 qubits were added. The IBM Q Experience includes a library of educational materials.


The Gate Model IBM Q
Like the D-Wave computer, superconducting materials are used that must be kept at subzero temperatures, and both photos show the covers removed to expose the quantum chip at the bottom. (Image courtesy of IBM Research, www.research.ibm.com)







Intel's 49-Qubit Quantum Computer
In 2018, Intel announced its Tangle Lake gate model quantum chip with a unique architecture of single-electron transistors coupled together. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is showing the chip at CES 2018. (Image courtesy of Intel Corporation.)







A Lot Different Than Classical Computing
Inventing quantum hardware designs is not the only difficult job. Just as challenging is developing the algorithms that allow the quantum architectures to solve real-world problems, and there are hurdles to overcome with both annealing and gate model methods. However, scientists believe everyday quantum computing is just a matter of time. See also quantum cryptography.



Are We at a Similar Stage?
Quantum computing is in the very early stages of development. When an eight-ton UNIVAC I in the 1950s evolved into a chip decades later, it makes one wonder what quantum computers might look like 50 years from now. See UNIVAC I and microcontroller.


Are We at a Similar Stage?
Quantum computing is in the very early stages of development. When an eight-ton UNIVAC I in the 1950s evolved into a chip decades later, it makes one wonder what quantum computers might look like 50 years from now. See UNIVAC I and microcontroller.
References in periodicals archive ?
Quantum computing has taken a big leap in drawing attention from the student community with its power to solve intricate challenges in no time.
Quantum computing is a type of computing that utilizes the mechanical phenomena of entanglement and superposition.
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Quantum computing will bring unprecedented advances in medicine, science, and mathematics--knowledge currently out of reach.
Nevertheless, the most important factor that accounts for boosting the interest in quantum computing is represented by the huge computational power offered by these systems and the fact that their development from both hardware and software perspectives has become a reality.
As Quantum Flagship group coordinator Tommaso Calarco diplomatically put it, those actions provided a "decisive stimulus" for the EU's selection of quantum computing as its third flagship.
The strength of quantum computing lies in the radically new
Quantum computing is a technology that is likely still years, or even decades, away from meaningful commercial applications.
As part of the agreement, ExxonMobil becomes the first energy company to join the IBM Q Network, a worldwide community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and national research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for science and business.
Such a capability would have major implications for the military, intelligence agencies and other organizations, especially when it comes to encrypting and decrypting critical information, said Arthur Herman, a senior fellow and quantum computing expert with the Hudson Institute.
The promise of quantum computing lies in the ability to solve certain problems significantly faster.

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