How close are we to the next generation of computing

Current state of Quantum Computing

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Technology is ever evolving. And as it reaches new heights life becomes easier. Computing is the core of all technology. Processors are evolving everyday and its power is going up.

The future of computing is obviously great, Quantum computers are the future. But they won’t come easy. The current state of computing is great. But Quantum computing is what will be the leaps into the future. Every major tech company has invested in research for quantum computers.

What is Quantum Computing

The basics concepts of quantum computing can be very difficult to get a grasp of. Quantum superposition is the very basic concept you need to know about quantum computing. It states that at any time a quantum particle can exist in more than two states. This same property is used to create computers that are much faster and much energy efficient.

Current computers store information as bits, which only exist as 1 or 0. Quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits. These are essentially quantum systems which can exist in more than two states.

The comparison of bits and qubits are usually explained with the help of a sphere. Let’s consider the qubits as a sphere and it can exist anywhere in the sphere. IE, multiple states. But classic bits can only exist in the two poles of the sphere that means only two states.

Importance of Quantum Computers

A report issued by Semiconductor Industry Association and Semiconductor Research Corp. in 2016 states that the world won’t be able to produce enough energy run its computers by 2040. That is one scary future. The future of Quantum computers which are in its infancy could be the key to the future of computing. They are much more energy efficient than current computing systems.

A quantum computer will be able to tackle hard mathematical problems faster than any supercomputer available right now. This will help us get a far better understanding of the world around us. In a world where new researches are getting harder, quantum computing will be the future of all research. From weather and climate prediction to real-time language translation, the applications of quantum computers are endless.

The current state of Quantum Computers

Quantum computers have picked up a fair amount of hype in the tech community in recent years. But most of the articles or videos I laid my eyes on pictures it as a near future. Quantum computers are in their infancy, more like the first generation of classical computers.

Quantum computer will in no way replace current computers, they are more like special purpose co-processors like a GPU. But they can excel in their special purpose far more than current computers can ever imagine. Google, IBM and startups like Rigetti are front-runners in the quantum computer race.

5 and 20 qubit computers are common these days. Both Google and IBM have made them. And IBM has even made them available through the cloud for scientists to run experiments. None of these makes it a breakthrough in quantum computing, “Quantum supremacy” as Google calls it was an aim to build a 49-qubit computer. This computer is said to be able to tackle problems that current computers can’t even think of. But IBM overcame Google and announced that they have made a 50-qubit computer in November 2017. This is nowhere near stable as we want it to be. It could hold its quantum micro-state only for 90 microseconds. This means quantum computers are nowhere near to being ready for practical usage.

The distance between practical usage also comes in the form of size. Most quantum computers resemble the first generation computers taking up whole rooms to inhabit.

Researchers say Quantum computers will help us solve problems that current computers can’t even scratch the surface of.  But this future seems to be far away. No revolution was made in a day. The future seems bright. Let’s just hope that companies continue to tackle quantum computing and get us to this bright future. Somewhere life is easier and we know better about ourselves.

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