The Exciting Future of Quantum Computing
Quantum computing has been making serious headlines over the past few years. There is growing optimism about the future of quantum computing and how it will change the way we live. Likewise, governments and private companies have increased the pace of R & D and started to invest enormous amounts of money because of its possibilities.
Before learning about the future of quantum computing, let us understand the basic concepts.
What is Quantum Computing?
Before understanding the concept of quantum computing, we must first understand how the modern digital computer works. The current digital computing system is based on the binary digit, often called a bit. A single bit can take only one of the two states at a certain instant. These states are defined as either ‘0’ or LOW, indicating zero volts, or ‘1’ or HIGH, indicating non zero volts. However, in quantum computation, information is contained in its smallest unit called a qubit. A single qubit can be either ‘0’ or ‘1’ or both at a certain instant. This is defined by two quantum mechanical phenomena: entanglement and superposition.
Few Important Considerations
While we discuss the future of quantum computing, we should never miss the following considerations.
A New Information Security Infrastructure
Experts predict that when quantum computers come into action, they will become so powerful that the modern information security infrastructure needs to be transformed. The present cryptography methods could be vulnerable to these new and powerful machines. Mathematically speaking, this major threat is due to the ability of quantum computers to factor large numbers which sit at the base of present cryptography. Even though we won’t get to this point anytime soon, we must be prepared with new plans and strategies.
Identifying Potential Users
The future of quantum computing sits not only on the development of hardware but also the software and applications. We must be able to identify potential users and areas where this technology will impact the most. At present, aerospace and defence, health, and scientific research seem to be the most prominent cases. Therefore, business leaders in these industries must plan for a new set of human and material resources to adopt this technology.
Preparing and understanding ethical implications is also crucial for the future of quantum computing. Since this technology has enormous potential, leaving it in the wrong hands can cause equally large destructions. The policymakers in the government must be ready to tackle this challenge before it is too late.
Let us now understand the applications of quantum computing in the upcoming future.
Aerospace and Defence
Aerospace and defence will be a major application area of quantum computing. This is because this industry is a converging point for many different technologies from material science to artificial intelligence. Research in new types of materials is required to build fuel-efficient and environment-friendly aircraft. Similarly, new types of structural design must be researched to stay ahead in the competition. Furthermore, new encryption technologies may be required to prevent the interception of sensitive information. Companies like Lockheed Martin have already started to use quantum computers in designing autopilot systems for their aircraft.
Understanding and simulating the behaviour of molecules is extremely difficult for classical computers. They are able to simulate the behaviour of only the simplest molecules like hydrogen. This is because molecules have many different energy states and undergo different changes during a chemical reaction. This information cannot be tracked by the binary technology of classical computers. However, quantum computers are based on the principle of superposition and hence can attain many states at a certain instant.
Efficient energy storage devices and methods will be an exciting part of the future of quantum computing. Understanding many possible chemical reactions will allow us to build better energy storage devices like batteries. Likewise, they can also aid in the development of fuels which can be suitable for the environment.
The present cryptographic technology is already efficient and hard to break for classical computers. However, since the future of quantum computing is getting closer, this might not hold true in a few years. The extraordinary capacity of quantum computers to factor large numbers into primes will be a great challenge for the current security infrastructure. The one-way feature of quantum entanglement will be essential for making unbreakable encryption methods.
Finance is an industry that is riddled with randomness. Modern markets are hard to predict and understand because we cannot keep track of all the involved factors. The randomness present in quantum computers resonates with the nature of modern markets. Businesses can leverage the power of quantum computing to predict the less risky paths, new areas of investment, and optimization of logistics and operations.
Climate Modelling will be an interesting phase in the future of quantum computing. Understanding the climate is very important for agriculture, trade, transportation, and disaster preparedness. Furthermore, they can be used to study the impact of humans on the degradation of climate. This will help governments to build better regulations on food production, transportation, manufacturing, and pollution.
Challenges of Quantum Computing
The future of quantum computing rests on our ability to understand and tackle the major challenges. Some of the major challenges are:
- These types of systems are based on the interactions on the smallest scales in the universe. Hence, they are very sensitive to noise and surroundings.
- Quantum computers operate at extremely low temperatures which can be difficult to maintain.
- The qubits currently in development seem to produce large amounts of errors. The error correction is an intense area of study and requires huge amounts of effort.
- Controlling qubits requires feedback circuits that operate on the scale of nanoseconds. Building circuits that can be interfaced with quantum systems is a great challenge.
In this blog, we have looked at the future of quantum computing and what are the most important things to consider. Likewise, we have studied the potential application areas and the challenges that we must overcome before it can be mainstream.
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