Month: November 2015

Quantum Computing is Coming

Quantum Computing is Coming


The term Quantum Computing sounds pretty intimidating, powerful and mysterious. What is Quantum Computing? A very basic explanation is it’s a new way of processing information. All existing computer applications and algorithms will not work on a Quantum Computer.

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world have research facilities devoted to this technology. Not only private profit based businesses are interested in this technology. The Chinese government has unlimited resources (no budget) devoted to Quantum Computing research. Besides Cold Fusion, it’s one of the most game changing fields in science and mathematics. The winner, or the first to exploit the power of Quantum Computing, will be in one of the most powerful positions in the world.

How is a Quantum Computer different from our current computers? It’s based on entanglement which is one of the strangest things we have discovered in nature. Basically, two different particles share the same information when they become entangled. So far, we haven’t found any distance that will not allow entanglement to happen. The information sharing also seems to happen instantly, faster than the speed of light.

Microsoft, Google, IBM and other large tech companies, are all investing a lot of money researching Quantum Computing. The types of people they are employing are mostly from academia. Mathematicians, physicists, fields medal winners. Some of the smartest people in the world are working on bringing this technology to the masses. It’s not only the creation of the technology but the algorithms that will run on these machines. Initially, only a few people in the world will have the knowledge to able to write the “code” that runs on a Quantum powered machine.

What’s the difference between a Dell computer sitting in your house compared to a Quantum Computer? It needs to be cooled to near absolute zero to operate is a major difference. It’s not feasible to think that a Quantum Computer will ever be sitting in somebody’s house, or taken to the coffee shop for browsing the Internet. The power will be used for solving extremely complex problems, quickly. An example would be analyzing different molecular combinations for a drug and accurately predicting its outcome. Or being able to process weather and other geological simulations on a massive scale not possible today. It won’t be used to run your Angry Birds apps.

Some have compared Quantum Computing to the industrial revolution. Nobody really understood the full impact of it while it was happening and it changed the world in a radical way. Quantum Computing won’t be affecting your daily life anytime soon. At least not in the next 5-10 years. But the path seems to be in the right direction where we can make another major leap in productivity and knowledge.

Wikipedia on Quantum Computing

Podcast on the current state of Quantum Computing affairs