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In 2022, leaders in the US military technology and cybersecurity communities said they considered 2023 to be a “reset year” for quantum computing. He estimated that the time it would take to make systems quantum-safe would match the time it would take for the first quantum computers to become available, threatening their security: both about four to six years. It is imperative that industry leaders quickly understand the security issues surrounding quantum computing and act to address the issues that arise as this powerful technology emerges.
Quantum computing is a cutting-edge technology that presents a unique set of challenges and promises unprecedented computing power. Unlike traditional computing, which works using binary logic (0s and 1s) and sequential calculations, quantum computing works with quantum bits, or qubits, which can represent an infinite number of possible outcomes. This allows quantum computers to perform large numbers of calculations simultaneously by exploiting the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics.
The potential of quantum computing
The potential of quantum computing lies in this ability to process large amounts of information in parallel, leading to an exponential increase in computing power compared to classical computers. While a classical computer can calculate the outcome of a single person’s race, a quantum computer can simultaneously analyze a race with millions of participants with different paths and determine the likely winner using a probability-based algorithm. Quantum computers are particularly useful for solving optimization problems and revolutionizing fields such as simulation, logistics, healthcare, finance, cyber security, weather tracking, agriculture and more with multiple potential outcomes. Their influence can extend to geopolitics, shaping power dynamics globally.
Quantum computing requires a completely different approach to programming because of its new logical paradigm. Effectively exploiting the potential of these technologies requires an acceptance of uncertainty and an iterative heuristic approach. However, a significant challenge in quantum computing is the need to connect multiple qubits without increasing the probability of errors. This is a serious obstacle to the commercial growth of the technology.
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A practical difficulty with this is the need to isolate the qubits from the real-world environment to avoid decoherence that degrades the quantum state. Currently, ultra-low temperature cooling is used for isolation. Ongoing research is exploring different approaches, including photonics and different materials, to make quantum processors more scalable and commercially viable.
A thousand qubits strong
In the last decade, quantum computing has made remarkable progress. For example, IBM launched a 50-qubit chip in 2017, and in 2019 it claimed to surpass the fastest conventional supercomputer on some counts. Further progress is expected, with the race to develop a 1,000-qubit quantum computer.
Short-term predictions about quantum computing may be overhyped, but the long-term implications are likely to be game-changing. Growing global interest from various sectors ensures significant capital commitment and paves the way for extraordinary practical innovations in the coming years.
For quantum computers to reach their full potential, the development of error-correcting qubits is critical. Current quantum processors often require standard qubits to achieve a single error correcting qubit. However, there is optimism that this issue will be resolved in the coming years.
Quantum computing promises to transform our world by providing unprecedented computing power and revolutionizing various industries and sectors. Although challenges remain, continued advances in quantum technology suggest that breakthroughs are within reach. As we harness the potential of quantum computing, it is likely to be one of the most influential of all frontier technologies to bring about significant advances in our society.
Daniel Doll-Steinberg is the co-founder of Edenbase.
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