Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Awareness Series: Quantum Computer

Computers were invented 60 years ago. Since then they have become very very powerful, but their working principle has remained the same. Now scientists are working on a new kind of computer called the ‘Quantum Computer’. The quantum computers are based on quantum mechanics.

The quantum effect was discovered by many scientists beginning with Einstein in the first 25 years of last century. These strange effects are observed only at very small scale, like particles smaller than the atom. Some of the strange effects are superposition and entanglement.

The quantum computer is based on these effects. As a unit of calculation, it uses ‘qbit’ or quantum bit instead of the ‘bit’ that a normal computer uses. A bit can be either 0 or 1, but qbit can be both at the same time, because of the strange quantum properties. Therefore a set of qbits can do many computations at the same time.

It is not correct to say that quantum computers are faster than the conventional computers. There are some tasks- like code breaking- that conventional computers cannot do in years, but quantum computers can do in seconds. But for many other tasks, they may be as fast as the normal ones.

Even though quantum computers are in the laboratories today, rapid progress is being made in making it available in the market. I hope my dear readers of YSc would welcome the arrival of a new kind of computers first time since their invention.

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