EDGE OF TOMORROW- QUANTUM COMPUTING
We all are living in very uncertain times nowadays due to the current COVID situation. But this situation has led to many never seen before transformations as well. Work From Home has got its well deserved place in the list of must have or not cheating lists as people have shown great commitment during these challenging days. Though it is yet to be seen how behavior of people would change once COVID situations get better and WFH is in place. Majority of companies which were hesitant to use cloud technologies due to data security concerns have not only given nod to it but also have surpassed lots of their peers in adapting to it. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning have got their expected traction in the market which was long pending. As many and many social accounts are getting hacked, Cyber Security is also becoming a big buzzword in the market. Although it is a grave and serious situation going on in the world, technology has made tremendous progress by achieving huge advancements which were never seen before. In all this hustle and bustle, there is one technology which started gaining momentum just last October that has been pushed to a few years back. This technology holds the key to the future and would change the landscape of all computers and related technologies. This technology is termed as Quantum Computing.
In October 2019, a study by the team of researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara was published in the journal Nature. It claimed that a quantum computer developed by Google, named as Sycamore – completed a complex computation in 200 seconds. The same calculation would have taken 10,000 years to finish if run on current powerful supercomputers. Using this study as reference, Google claimed “quantum supremacy” over the most powerful supercomputers. The very next day, IBM claimed that it’s supercomputer can solve the same problem in 2.5 days. While people all over the world are having debates on these claims, one thing which comes out concrete is the fact that quantum computers are going to be very fast. Whether the problem is solved in 10,000 years or 2.5 days by supercomputers, reality is that the quantum computer solved it in 200 seconds. This itself is a bigger fact than argument over actual processing time of supercomputers. Given this kind of optimization, speed and power, it is very difficult to imagine the future which will have quantum computers replacing current world computers. Already Google, IBM and Amazon are locked in this race of Quantum Computing. They have already released beta versions of their quantum computers to the world for performing complex computations.
Classical computers understand, store and process information in terms on bits. A bit can be either 0 or 1. Binary system, as these are called in engineering terms, only relies on two states. On the other hand, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits. A qubit can exist as 0 and 1 both simultaneously. This is termed as superposition state in quantum computing. This concept holds the key strength of quantum computers over classical computers. This is why an even smaller number of qubits can represent states which will require a large number of bits in classical computers. Google’s quantum computer contains 53 qubits in a complex superposition state.
Technology landscape today is changing every now and then, the important thing is to keep focus on long term goals and achieve them with great precision and success. Quantum computing concept has been there for a long time as was the case with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Today we are standing at the edge of tomorrow and once the world either gets over with this current situation or accepts this new normal, things will move forward with more acceleration. Quantum computers have started banging on the doors and it will be a matter of time when all of us will possess one of them.
–Professor Anup Kumar