Research, Technology

What's going on: quantum computers

You and I had a chance to live in an amazing time.Not the calmest, of course, but look what science has achieved - we do not just split matter into atoms, we create quantum technologies and even know how to use them. Take quantum computers, for example. These machines perform calculations based on the likelihood of the state of the object before it was measured - instead of 1 or 0 seconds. This means that they can process exponentially more data compared to classical computers that perform simple logical tasks and operations. Such technologies have been developed for decades, and at least two programs written for a quantum computer date from the 90s of the XX century. One of them decomposes large numbers into prime factors, thus breaking current computer encryption. The second program can perform searches that require the square root of the time spent on them on conventional computers.

Quantum computers - technologies of the future

Quantum technology Is a complex area of ​​physics that explores the behavior of subatomic particles - particles that are smaller than atoms, the basic building blocks of all matter in the universe.

Let's talk about qubits

One of the main areas representinginterest within quantum technology, are quantum computing. Unlike a classical computer, which performs calculations one at a time, a quantum computer can perform many calculations at the same time.

The basic unit of information in quantum computing is a “bit,” which represents one of two binary values ​​— either zero or one.

In fact, qubit Is a hybrid of the words "quantum" and "bit".In modern computers and smartphones, bits are the smallest unit of information storage. In this case, each of them either contains the value 0, or the value one. But in a qubit, the bit is a quantum particle. And that changes everything.

A quantum computer operates on a probabilistic principle.

A qubit has the flexibility to represent eitherzero, or one, or both at the same time. This ability of an object to exist in more than one form at a time is called superposition. However, when several qubits in a computer interact with each other, the situation becomes more complicated, as the concept of entanglement arises: many particles in a quantum system are connected and affect each other.

The development of quantum computers will lead to scientific breakthroughs in biology, chemistry, medicine, and transportation.

For example, if one qubit represents zero,the other qubit associated with it will assume the value of one, and vice versa - this makes the measurement of each qubit dependent on the other. Since the basic building blocks of quantum computers can represent all possibilities at the same time, in theory they are much faster and more powerful than the conventional computers we are used to.

Future technologies

Physicists from China recently launched a quantuma computer that they said took 1 millisecond to complete a task that would have taken a regular computer 30 trillion years! This is because in quantum computing, operations use the quantum state of an object to create a qubit.

These states represent undefined properties of an object before they were discovered, such as the rotation of an electron or the polarization of a photon.

Instead of having a clear position,unmeasured quantum states arise in a mixed "superposition". These superpositions can be related to superpositions of other objects, which means that their final results will be mathematically related, even if we do not yet know what they are.

Quantum computers make use of the properties of quantum systems such as superposition and entanglement for computing.

You might be wondering: Can quantum mechanics explain the existence of spacetime?

How to build a quantum computer?

So, to create a functional quantumthe computer needs to hold the object in a state of superposition long enough to carry out various processes on it. Unfortunately, as soon as the superposition meets materials that are part of the measured system, it loses its intermediate state in the so-called decoherence.

It turns out that these devices should be able to protect quantum states from decoherence, while at the same time making them easy to read.

Quantum states of superposition and entanglement are extremely fragile, and without the right temperature and environmental conditions, they quickly lose their qualities and behave erratically. Presently quantum computers are very sensitive: Heat, electromagnetic fields and collisions with air molecules can cause decoherence and system failure.

Quantum computers are very sensitive today.

Ideally, quantum computers should protectqubits from external interference, either physically isolating them, keeping them cool, or charging them with carefully controlled pulses of energy. Additional qubits are needed to correct errors that enter the system.

The need for specialized equipmentis the key reason that only countries willing to invest large resources are exploring quantum computing. And since science is developing rapidly, sooner or later physicists will achieve their goal.

In a 2020 paper, physicists from China outlined threeareas of application of quantum technologies that the country was trying to develop. For example, quantum sensors could detect a submarine lurking hundreds of meters under the ocean, or direct devices that could operate independently for months without a GPS signal.

The technologies of the future are already here, it remains to wait a bit

And Quantum Computing Can Helpresearchers to develop new drugs by simulating larger, more complex molecules much faster. A few hundred entangled qubits would be enough to represent more numbers than atoms in the universe!

Read more about the latest discoveries in quantum physics here.

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