What Will A Quantum Computer Be Able To Do – Inside a small lab in the lush countryside about 50 miles north of New York City, an intricate array of pipes and electronics hang from the ceiling. This machine is a computer. Not just any computer, but one that has passed can be considered one of the most important milestones in the history of the field.
Quantum computers promise to perform calculations far beyond the reach of any conventional supercomputer. They could revolutionize the discovery of new materials, making it possible to simulate the behavior of matter down to the atomic level. Or they can explore encryption and security by cracking impenetrable codes. There is even hope that they will give artificial intelligence a supercharge by analyzing data effectively.
- 1 What Will A Quantum Computer Be Able To Do
- 2 Quantum Computing For Business Leaders
- 3 Ibm Wants To Build A 100,000 Qubit Quantum Computer
What Will A Quantum Computer Be Able To Do
Only now, after decades of incremental progress, are researchers finally close to building quantum computers powerful enough to do things regular computers can’t. This is an important step known as “quantum supremacy”. Google is leading the charge toward this point, and Intel and Microsoft also have significant quantum efforts. And there are well-funded startups, including Rigetti Computing, IonQ and Quantum Circuits.
Quantum Computing For Business Leaders
However, no other contender can match IBM’s pedigree in this area. Fifty years ago, the company made advances in materials science that laid the foundation for the computer revolution. That’s why, last October, I was at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center to answer these questions: What, if anything, would be good for a quantum computer? And can it be made in a practical and reliable way?
The research center, located in Yorktown Heights, looks a little like a spaceship imagined in 1961. It was designed by neo-futurist architect Eero Saarinen and built during IBM’s era as a manufacturer of industrial mainframe equipment. IBM was the largest computer company in the world, and ten years after the research center was established, it became the fifth largest company of any kind in the world, behind only Ford and General Electric.
Although the building’s corridor overlooks the countryside, the design is such that there are no windows from the interior offices. It was in one of these closed rooms that I met Charles Bennett. Now in his 70s, he wears a large white neckerchief, black socks with sandals, and even a pocket square with a pen. Surrounded by vintage computer monitors, chemical models and, interestingly, a miniature disco ball, he recalled the birth of quantum computing as if it were yesterday.
Charles Bennett of IBM Research is one of the founders of quantum information theory. His work at IBM helped develop the theoretical basis for quantum computing.
Ibm Wants To Build A 100,000 Qubit Quantum Computer
When Bennett joined IBM in 1972, quantum physics was already fifty years old, but computing was still tied to classical physics and the mathematical information theory that Claude Shannon had developed at MIT in the 1950s. was defined in terms of the amount of information. The number of “bits” (a term he likes but hasn’t paid for) that needs to be stored. These pieces, d
A year after arriving at Yorktown Heights, Bennett helped lay the groundwork for quantum information theory that challenged all of that. It is based on exploring the specific behavior of objects on an atomic scale. In this approximation, particles can be “superimposed” in multiple states (ie, in many different states) at the same time. Two particles can also exhibit “simultaneity” so that a change in one state immediately affects the other.
Bennett and others realized that certain types of time-consuming, or even impossible, calculations could be performed efficiently with the help of quantum phenomena. A quantum computer would store information in quantum bits or qubits. Qubits can be in superpositions
, and interpolation and a trick called interpolation can be used to solve calculations in multiple states. Comparing quantum and classical computers is very difficult, but in general, a quantum computer with only a few hundred qubits can simultaneously perform more calculations than the known universe.
What Is Quantum Computing?
In the summer of 1981, IBM and MIT organized a special event called the First Conference on Computational Physics. It was created at Endicott House, a French-style mansion near the MIT campus.
In a photo taken by Bennett at the conference, many influential people in the history of computing and quantum physics can be seen on the lawn, including Konrad Zoss, who created the first programmable computer, and Richard Feynman, whose large sent Information for this. Quantum Theory Feynman gave the keynote address at the conference, in which he proposed the concept of computing using quantum effects. “The most advanced theory of quantum information came from Feynman,” Bennett told me. He said, ‘Nature is quantum, dammit! So if we want to imagine that, we need a quantum computer.”
IBM’s quantum computer—one of the most promising in existence—is located in the same hall as Bennett’s office. The device is designed to create and manage an essential element of a quantum computer: the qubits that store information.
IBM’s machine takes advantage of quantum phenomena that occur in superconducting materials. For example, current sometimes flows clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time. The IBM computer uses superconducting circuits in which two separate states of electromagnetic energy form a qubit.
Quantum Computing: Definition, How It’s Used, And Example
The superconducting method has great advantages. Hardware can be manufactured using established manufacturing methods and a standard computer can be used to control the system. The qubits in a superconducting circuit are also easier to manipulate and less fragile than individual photons or ions.
Inside IBM’s Quantum Lab, engineers are working on a version of a computer with 50 qubits. You can run a simple quantum computer simulation on a regular computer, but with about 50 qubits it becomes almost impossible. This means that IBM is theoretically approaching the point where a quantum computer can solve problems that classical computers cannot: in other words, quantum supremacy.
But as IBM researchers will tell you, quantum supremacy is a vague concept. You would need all 50 qubits to work perfectly, when in reality quantum computers are riddled with bugs that need to be worked out. Keeping qubits for any length of time is very difficult; They are “decomposing”, or losing their fragile quantum nature, just as the smoke ring breaks down in the slightest draft. And the more qubits there are, the more difficult both challenges become.
“If you had 50 or 100 qubits and they worked hard enough, and were perfectly optimized — you could do amazing calculations that couldn’t be replicated in any classical machine, now or forever,” the Yale professor Robert Schulkoff said. called Quantum Circuits. “The flip side of quantum computing is that there are some ways it can go wrong.”
Ibm: Quantum Computers Are Already Doing Heavy Lifting
Another reason to be cautious is that it is unclear how useful even a fully functional quantum computer would be. It not only speeds up the work you do; In fact, for many calculations it will be slower than classical machines. So far only a few algorithms have been designed where a quantum computer would clearly have an advantage. And even for them, this benefit may be temporary. The most famous quantum algorithm, developed by Peter Shore at MIT, is for finding prime numbers. Most common cryptographic schemes are based on the fact that it is difficult for a normal computer. But cryptography can change, creating new types of codes that don’t rely on factorization.
“What’s driving the excitement is the realization that quantum computing is actually real. It’s no longer a physicist’s dream—it’s an engineer’s dream.
Therefore, even as they approach the 50-qubit milestone, IBM researchers themselves want to dispel the excitement surrounding it. At a table in the hallway overlooking the green lawn outside, I meet Jay Gambetta, a tall, quiet Australian who studies quantum algorithms and potential applications for hardware. “We are at this particular stage,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “We have this machine that’s more complex than you can imagine in a classical computer, but it’s still uncontrollable.” Do the algorithms you know how to do.
What gives IBMers hope is that even an imperfect quantum computer can still be useful.
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Gambetta and other researchers pointed to an application that Feynman saw in 1981. Chemical reactions and properties of materials are determined by interactions between atoms and molecules. These interactions are governed by quantum phenomena. A quantum computer can – at least in theory – model what a traditional device cannot.
Last year, Gambetta and colleagues at IBM used a seven-qubit instrument to simulate the detailed structure of beryllium hydride. With only three atoms, it is the most complex molecule modeled by a quantum system. Eventually, researchers could use quantum computers to design solar cells.
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