Tuesday, May 10, 2011


When the microprocessor came out, it pretty much revolutionized the computer industry; the development was exponential, and from rudimentary calculus machines, we went to today's standards, when an average computer can make more calculations than half of mankind put together. But this development seems to have reached a sort of plateau; after all, there is a limit to how many transistors you can use, there is a limit to how many processors you can put on a motherboard. Where can we go from here ? The answers seems to come up from the most surprising of places - quantum mechanics; and the next step ?Quantum computers.
In the world of quantum mechanics, things don't happen as they do in the real world. It has its own set of laws, that were developed for the purpose of explaining why light somehow acts like a wave, and sometimes like particles. The result is you get a bunch of phenomena that seem just absurd in the real word, but they are very much true in the quantum world; two of these phenomena are quantum entanglement and quantum superposition (if you are interested, find explanations about these at the end of the article).
Basically, instead of using bits, in the quantum computing system, you would use qubits. How they differ from bits is actually extremely interesting; bits are basic... bits of information. They are either 1 or 0, black or white, and this is how they work and how they transfer information. The qubit on the other hand has with additional dimensions associated to the quantum properties of a physical atom. The physical construction of quantum computers is itself an arrangement of entangled atoms, and the qubit represents[clarification needed] both the state memory and the state of entanglement in a system. Basically, a qubit can be either a 1, a 0, and there is a possibility for each one of these outcomes. Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it ? For quanta, it does.
The advantages here are absolutely huge - they would be able to make much more calculations, extremely more calculations actually. Thus we would see significant developments in astronomy, sociology, physics, and pretty much every field of science which relies on computer models - almost all of them, actually.
However, there is still a long way to go to reach that place. Although the scientific world has been abuzz with the sale of a quantum computer, researchers claim that there is still a really long way to go until we get a competitive one. But they will come, and hopefully, the world will know how to make good use of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment