The Rise of Quantum Computers…
In the modern day, computers are an unprecedented piece of technology, and absolutely key to society in the present day. They are used in almost every imaginable task possible, from browsing web pages and reading e-mails, to solving complex mathematical calculations and creating secure communication channels.
However due to a growing need of increasing processing speeds, computer chips and electrical components are reaching the limit of what is physically possible and certain problems can never be solved on even the fastest supercomputer. In order to solve problems for which the fastest supercomputer would require millions of years to solve, an new technology is required.
It is called the quantum computer, and although it may sound like being in the realms of science fiction, it could not be any closer to science fact. In fact we are well on the way to creating one of these powerful quantum computers.
This technology works by replacing electrical components with atoms and using the strange principles of quantum mechanics to manipluate these atoms into achieving computing speeds much faster than anything that we can imagine today.
…and The New Binary Code
Current computers (also called classical computers) use electronic charge to represent information in a computer. The smallest unit of this information or data is called the “bit”. These bits can be represented as either “0” or “1”. These are also called Binary Digits.
Everything that makes up data and information in a computer is made up of these bits, and arithmetic calculations are performed on these bits to process everything on a computer.
However quantum computers do things a bit different, instead of electrical charge, quantum computers use a specific property of atoms, called “spin” to represent the binary “1’s” and “0’s”. However quantum mechanics allows for the strange ability to be in two states at the same time! This means that a single atom could be both a “1” and a “0” or a “1” and “1” or any other combination for that matter. This is known as the principle of superposition. Also, instead of being called a bit, it is now called a quantum bit or simply a qubit!
By controlling these qubits, it is possible to create the basis of what will make up the fundamental part of a quantum computer.
Full Speed Ahead!
Due to the ability of atoms to represent two bits at the same time, this leads to sigificantly processing speeds. Each time a new atom is added to this computer the overall speed of the system will increase considerably.
While a 1-atom system can only perform 2 simultaneous calculations, a 2-atom system can process 4 calculations simultaneously, and just a 20-atom system can run over a million calculations simultaneously. Even as few as 1000-atoms could process more simultaneous calculations than there are particles in the entire observable universe!
Now that’s alot of speed!