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Quantum Computing Explained for Beginners

Richard Feynman, a man who ought to understand the subject better than anyone, once said: “Nobody understands quantum mechanics”.

If you come away from reading this blog post thinking you’ve understood the quantum realm, I’ve done an awful job explaining it. The best you should hope for is walking away thinking:

“Huh?”

 

The Problem

 

As modern computers are becoming more powerful, the internal components are getting smaller and smaller. Some are even reaching the size of an atom.

The simplest form of a data processor in a computer is a transistor (similar to an electric switch). A transistor opens and closes paths for traveling electrons (not too dissimilar from the functionality of a light switch). The typical size of a transistor today ranges between 5 and 10 nanometres. However, IBM unveiled the smallest transistor in history at 2nm. Allow me to try and put this in perspective for you. Bear with me:

A nanometre is a billionth of a meter and a millionth of a millimetre.

A millimetre is about the thickness of a credit card. 

So the switches in your computer are about a millionth the size of a credit card’s depth.

Due to the size of transistors decreasing so much, electrons may transfer themselves to the other side of it, whether it’s blocked or not. This process is called Quantum Tunnelling. Quantum physics works differently. It’s unpredictable compared to the laws of physics we have come to understand somewhat. Traditional computers lack the means to deal with this type of physics and fail to function correctly at this atomic level. It’s a physical barrier to progression.

The Solution

 

Quantum physics studies the behaviour of atoms, electrons, and protons, and quantum computing controls these particles. In quantum computing, the collective properties of quantum states such as superposition, interference, and entanglement are harnessed to perform calculations.

A quantum computer is a device that makes this possible. It isn’t just an advanced version of a modern computer, in the same way that a lightbulb isn’t an advanced version of a candle.

They’re different technologies.

Quantum physics studies the behaviour of atoms, electrons, and protons, and quantum computing controls these particles. In quantum computing, the collective properties of quantum states such as superposition, interference, and entanglement are harnessed to perform calculations.

A quantum computer is a device that makes this possible. It isn’t just an advanced version of a modern computer, in the same way that a lightbulb isn’t an advanced version of a candle.

They’re different technologies.

 

Quantum Computers VS Traditional Computers

 

Computers use binary code. The information sent through or blocked by transistors comprises bits that can either be 0 or 1. Complex information consists of several bits, and transistors are incorporated to manage this process. A quantum computer, on the other hand, uses quantum bits.

A quantum bit (Qubit) is non-binary. Its identity is more of a spectrum. It exists in a superposition (the ability of a quantum system to be in multiple states at the same time until it is measured), or it can be a combination of 1 and 0; with some probability of being 0 and some probability of being 1. It could have a 60% probability of being 1 and a 40 % probability of being 0. Or, 70 & 30 and 80 & 20, and so on.

Quantum mechanics are very different from classical mechanics. It isn’t easy to understand how it works because of the laws of physics that we are accustomed to. Imagine spinning a coin before it lands (or slows down at least); it could be heads or tails. You could argue it’s a state of superposition until it’s in an observed state. For further reading, check out Schrödinger’s Cat

The quantum distinction is that it abandons the certainty of precise value. But, as soon as the qubit passes through a transistor, it has to be either 0 or 1. As long as the qubit is unobserved, it’s in a superposition of probabilities. But, as soon it is measured, it becomes a definite state. Rather than bypassing transistors, they’re not supposed to travel through; Qubits take the form they need to pass through, thus solving the problems that traditional computers face.

 

Additional Information

 

While you are here, why not check out our website. Our application enables you to trade a small percentage of your mobile device’s processing power in exchange for our tokens.

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