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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quantum Computing - The Next Leap Towards Our Future!

Quantum computers, which function according to the laws of quantum physics, have the potential to dwarf the processing power of even today's computers! Able to process huge amounts of information "all at once". Researchers at the University of Oxford have achieved a quantum logic gate with record-breaking 99.9% precision, reaching the benchmark required theoretically to build a quantum computer. 

A logic gate is a physical device implementing a logical operation on one or more logical inputs, and produces a single logical output. It is at the core of designing a computer and it helps us in producing an output from a given input. However, the logic gates used in modern computers are designed electronically and are slower since they work on the principles of electricity as compared to quantum logic gates. Quantum logic gates would be much faster because they would work on the principle of quantum physics which is based on a phenomenon called "quantum entanglement". 

The team at Oxford achieved this logic gate, which places two atoms in a state of quantum entanglement and is the fundamental building block of quantum computing, with a precision (or fidelity) substantially greater than the previous world record. The term "fidelity" used here means the degree to which the atoms are connected to each other through the process of quantum entanglement. Quantum entanglement -- a phenomenon described by Einstein as 'spooky' but which is at the heart of quantum technologies -- occurs when two particles stay connected, such that an action on one affects the other, even when they are "separated by great distances". This connection is possible due to the correlation in their behavior with respect to each other which means that change in one atom results in change in behavior of the other atom !! This phenomenon can happen even over large distances and thus the effect travels much faster as compared to electricity.

Quantum technology is a complex area, but one analogy that has been used to explain the concept of quantum computing is that it is like "being able to read all of the books in a library at the same time", whereas conventional computing is like having to read them one after another. This may be over-simplistic, but it is useful in conveying the way in which quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize the field.
But what does this actually imply? The fact that it is not merely a different technology for computing in the same way our everyday computers work; it is at a very fundamental level a different way of processing information. It turns out that this quantum-mechanical way of manipulating information gives quantum computers the ability to solve certain problems far more efficiently than any conceivable conventional computer.

The applications for Quantum computing are thus enormous !! Here is a peak into the applications of Quantum computing :

1. Safer airplanes—Lockheed Martin plans to use quantum computers to test jet software that is currently too complex for classical computers.

2. Discover distant planets—Quantum computers will be able to analyze the vast amount of data collected by telescopes and seek out Earth-like planets.

3. Win elections—Campaigners will comb through reams of marketing information to best exploit individual voter preferences.

4. Boost GDP—Hyper-personalized advertising, based on quantum computation,we will be able to stimulate consumer spending.

5. Detect cancer earlier—Computational models will help determine how diseases develop.

6. Help automobiles drive themselves—Google is using a quantum computer to design software that can distinguish cars from landmarks.

7. Reduce weather-related deaths—Precision forecasting will give people more time to take cover.

8. Cut back on travel time—Sophisticated analysis of traffic patterns in the air and on the ground will forestall bottlenecks and snarls.

9. Develop more effective drugs—By mapping amino acids,for example, or analyzing DNA-sequencing data, doctors will discover and design superior drug-based treatments.

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