The computer has been becoming smaller and smaller since its invention.
The computer has been becoming smaller and smaller since its invention. It has downsized from enormous room-sized giants to pocket-sized mobile phones. Each new model: smaller and faster than the one before. Now, the computer and software engineering is about to enter into a new era: Quantum Computing. Quantum computing is not as simple as its name. For a regular person, it may not make any sense at all. However, some basics of this strange technique can be explained.
What are Quantum Computers?
Quantum computers are computers that use quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics. Quantum computing employs the phenomena of superposition and entanglement for operating. We know that classical computers process data in form of ‘zeros’ and ‘ones’ otherwise known as ‘bits’. However, quantum computers use ‘qubits’ to process data.
New data processor: Qubits
Bits used in classical computers can either have a value of 1 or 0. However, qubits can have both of these values (0 and 1) at the same time. Qubits can even have more than two values. This is called superposition. The interesting part is the observation of a qubit. When unobserved, a qubit is in an average value of all the possible values assigned to it. When it is observed, it picks one of these assigned values.
Hence, qubits can be assigned a large number of values. And essentially increase the amount of data for the same number of qubits, as compared to bits of classical computing. This is the fundamental property and advantage of quantum computing.
Entanglement is another strange and important part of quantum computers. Entanglement happens when two particles separated by any distance influence one another. In other words, change in state of one particle affects the state of the other. In quantum computing, the same phenomenon is applied to qubits. Qubits, due to entanglement, create a communication network within a quantum system. It speeds up the quantum computer much faster than a classical computer.
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Hurdles and Difficulties
Quantum computers are still a difficult concept because of many technical difficulties. It is very difficult to increase the number of qubits physically. Assigning arbitrary values to qubits is a difficult task. Reading qubit information is not easy. Moreover, due to superposition, a large amount of data can be lost when qubits are observed.
Quantum computers are yet to be realized. However, if manufactured and perfected over time, they will provide a revolutionary technological advancement in data processing.