Quantum Computing & its trends:
In recent months, terms such as IA or Quantum Computing have been coming out of laboratories and research centres and permeating public opinion in a media and effective way.
Technical terms such as Machine Learning or Deep Learning are handled in a way we could almost say that common in non-specialized circles. And the same thing begins to happen with quantum computers.
In the 80s this trend was consolidated and in 2011 they began to see the first tangible developments of quantum computers, although it was not until 2015 when they began to build the first functional quantum computers to start developing a stable and programmable computational platform.
What is a quantum computer?
Basically that is the million dollar question. With classic computers we have bits, bytes, megabytes, programs, developers, algorithms, processors, memory, graphics cards, and storage.
We talk about zeros and ones as if we really had zeros and ones moving gracefully inside the silicon chips that run at several “speed” gigahertz’s. We can write an assignment writing service computer program basically by moving “boxes” and connecting them in visual development environments like Scratch. We have managed to abstract the physical part that underlies all these high level concepts.
Because a one and a zero are not such: they are voltage levels. And the code boxes that we move and connect in Scratch, in a processor, are translated into mathematical operations that follow Boolean logic.
In the early days of computing that we know, computers were not programmed with programming languages, the values of the binary records were loaded by punched cards.
And the results of the operations did not appear on a screen, but had to be read directly from the binary records on the computer itself. In quantum computing it is a bit like in those early days of classical computing. But here we do not have values of voltages for the binary registers, but quantum states that “happen” in the qubits.
These qubits are not characterized by their voltage as in binary computers, but by their quantum state associated with properties such as the spin of an electron.
In addition, in a binary computer we are limited to working with a number of bits that have gone from 8 to 16, from 16 to 32 and from 32 to 64 bits In a binary computer of “n” bits we operate with “n” bits at the same time, but in a quantum computer of “n” qubits we have 2 high an states with which “quantum” operations can be performed in the process of executing an algorithm in a quantum computer.
That is, a quantum computer works with completely different concepts, algorithms and technologies than those used in a binary computer. Properties of quantum mechanics such as superposition, interlacing and interference are used in a quantum computer to manage the states of the qubits and recreate the operations necessary to process algorithms.
Currently, a particularly relevant aspect in which we are working in the Delft laboratory is in the correction of errors. Without a system that is capable of correcting errors derived from the nature of quantum states, little progress can be made in this field. In traditional binary computing, error correction systems are integrated into the architecture of processors and communication systems, including Internet connections. And without them, computers, the Internet and mobile communications would not be possible.
Temperatures lower than in space
At the moment, the quantum computers with which one works in the laboratories of Delft handle a maximum of 49 qubits. It is a sufficient number so that, in theory, it can overcome in capacity of resolution of problems the most powerful supercomputers of the moment. The complication lies in the conditions that are needed for the qubits to work in a sufficiently predictable way. Thus, the temperature has to be extremely low to prevent the thermal energy from causing the qubits to change stages spontaneously.
The way to “control” the qubits is through microwaves. With specific frequencies, the states can be “injected” into the qubits so that through the appropriate algorithms and using the properties of superposition, interlacing and interference, complex problems can be solved in which it is necessary to handle exponential magnitudes.
Will the arrival of quantum computers mean the disappearance of classic computers? No, in reality both types of computers are always going to live together. To treat the data thrown by a quantum computer, a classic computer will always be necessary.