Quantum Computing 2020 The Development of a Quantum Computers Explained

2020 - the development of a quantum computer. (According to the forecast of Jeremy O'Brien, director of the Center for Quantum Computing at the University of Bristol)

Digital Technology Review | Quantum Computers Explained

"He promises to solve some of the most difficult problems of mankind. He is supported by [the founder of Amazon] Jeff Bezos, NASA and the CIA. Each of its copies costs $ 10 million and operates at a temperature of -273 ° C. No one knows exactly how it works, "- such a teaser in February 2014, Time magazine described the unexpected hero of its cover - the quantum computer D-Wave Two. The flattering words were still an advance: the development of the American company D-Wave, among whose partners - really all leaders of the technology industry, has become an important, but not decisive step towards the invention of a truly revolutionary device.

applications of quantum computing

Quantum Computer to Handle Big Data

A quantum computer is a machine that combines the achievements of computer science and quantum physics - the most complex branch of modern science, which studies elementary particles less than an atom. The physics of these particles often collides with accumulated academic knowledge (for example, contradicts the theory of relativity of Albert Einstein). A quantum particle can simultaneously be in different places and in different states. This principle, which is mutually exclusive from the point of view of logic, is called the principle of superposition.

It is the superposition principle that should form the basis of a full-fledged quantum computer. Unlike a conventional computer that analyzes information via binary code (all data are described as 0 or 1), the device does not work with bits, but with qubits (quantum bit-quantum bits) that can simultaneously be in positions 0 and 1. Quantum computer thanks to this technology, processes data many times faster than a conventional analog, and also opens the way for mankind to solve problems that are simply inaccessible today.

The ability to handle large amounts of data and huge speed are properties that can help states and businesses solve many problems. Quantum computers are machines that are so necessary in the coming era of large data. Any task - for example, how a person gets from point A to point B, - an ordinary computer will decide, in turn, analyzing all available options. A quantum computer will analyze all the routes simultaneously and at times more quickly offer the optimal solution.

The Application of a Quantum Computer

The use of a quantum computer should help to make a breakthrough in a wide range of areas, for example, in predicting weather conditions (building accurate climate models will allow, for example, to improve the work of autopilots in aviation) and developing new drugs (through trillions of combinations of molecules and the detection of effective drugs to combat cancer, for example). The same applies to the invention of this artificial intelligence: on quantum computers, which are constantly cultivated through machine learning algorithms , the developers of artificial intelligence have high hopes.

Today, the creation of quantum computers involved teams that can attract large-scale investments in similar projects from states and technology corporations. For example, from the documents published by Edward Snowden, it followed that the US National Security Agency invested about $ 80 million in the development of a quantum computer in order to create new encryption mechanisms.

D-Wave Systems supports Google, NASA and other companies and departments, but apart from its projects, IBM and Microsoft are also singled out.

100 million

D-Wave, who claims the invention of the "first commercial" quantum processor, in September 2016 introduced a new device, with a chip for a record 2,000 qubits. A few months earlier, the Lockheed Martin concern, up to 1.1 thousand qubits, had increased the performance of its own Center for Quantum Computing (QCW), also based on the development of D-Wave. Not all qubits are used by the device in computing processes - by analogy with RAM, which is not fully used on conventional computers or smartphones: the same Lockheed Martin recognized that of 1,152 qubits quantum problems are solved by 1098. D-Wave processors are not universal quantum machines, and produce quantum calculations based on information loaded into them by researchers. That is, while D-Wave can solve only a narrow list of typical tasks.

IBM in May 2016 introduced a cloud-based service for quantum computing IBM Quantum Experience. In comparison with the figures of D-Wave, the system's power is less - only 5 qubits, but IBM calls the breakthrough its own development: researchers can already connect to the service around the world. For example, the company demonstrated the ability of its computer to work with the Grover algorithm: if a conventional device requires one to four attempts to detect in a deck of four cards, the quantum one is enough.

Microsoft from the mid-2000s invested in research on quantum computing and in November 2016 announced the creation of a unit to develop an innovative computer. According to The New York Times, Microsoft is ready to spend tens of millions of dollars developing and shaking D-Wave's position in the emerging market.

According to market research company Market Research Media, by 2020 the market volume will grow to $ 5 billion, and after the development of technology can occur a sharp leap that will put the classical computer industry on the brink of extinction.

At the same time, many experts remain skeptical about the prospects of quantum computers. A universal machine that would replace today's personal computers due to unattainable power, none of the companies has yet announced what the developers themselves admit. At what point humanity will accumulate the amount of knowledge to create a full-fledged revolutionary device, no one knows: the same Google noted that joint developments with D-Wave are at the "earliest stages". It is also important to avoid errors in quantum computation due to environmental effects - the process of correcting them is much more complicated than in classical calculations. To eliminate such errors in the future can go up to 99% of the power of quantum processors, but the remaining percentage is enough for a revolution in technology,


Finally, technology also has risks associated with cyber security. 

As the co-founder of the Institute of Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, Michael Moska, predicted in the column for the Global Risk Institute, the probability of cracking the main encryption tools used by hackers today will grow to 1 chance from 7 by 2026 and up to 50% by 2031.

Modern systems usually encrypt all data using a secret key and a symmetric algorithm, according to this principle, certificates of websites, digital signatures of applications and encrypted information exchange in Internet banks, instant messengers, etc. are arranged. The key is the same for the sender and receiver (hence the name "Symmetric"), it is set at the beginning of the session with the help of a second, asymmetric cryptosystem. Asymmetric algorithm is a computationally complex task, therefore it is used only to transmit a secret key. Even if a spy or a hacker can intercept a message with an asymmetric algorithm, decryption with modern computing capacities will take tens to millions of years, depending on the length of the key. Quantum computer for this decryption will take about the same time as usual - for encryption.

This risk in the future may encourage states to adjust the industry, limit the development of technology beyond the control of the authorities, said managing director of analytical company Guggenheim Partners Marcos Lopez de Prado in an interview with BBC.

Following questions are asked via email by our readers.We shall try to answer them in next article. 

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