You must have heard of and known the four different types of computers such as those outlined below that are in use all over the world today.
However, this post will walk you through the fifth type called Quantum Computer which is going to revolutionize everything related to computing and belonging to the computer world. It is unbelievably faster than supercomputers and can perform almost anything under the sun. Although the concept behind the creation of Quantum Computer is pretty complex, the following paragraphs will acquaint you with the basics of this magnificent ‘thinking’ machine that may surpass the thinking power of the human brain.
To begin with, a Quantum Computer performs calculations that are based on the behavior of particles at sub-atomic level and is capable of executing millions of instructions per second (MIPS), as compared to all other computers built till now. However, the secret behind such exponential advance in processing capability lies in the fact that data units in a Quantum Computer, as against those in binary computer, can exist in several states at a time. In other words, a Quantum Computer can ‘think’ many ‘thoughts’ concurrently, where each ‘thought’ becoming independent of others, although they all originate from the same set of particles.
Researchers have developed a new term called Qubit to denote the fundamental data unit in a Quantum Computer. It is no doubt a bit or binary digit, but one that can take on many values simultaneously. The theory behind this mimics the concept of Quantum Mechanics, where individual particles emerge in multiple locations. For all practical purposes, you may look into it as having two or more aspects, each of which can be high, i.e. logic 1 i.e. or low, i.e. logic 0. As a natural corollary, when a Qubit develops two aspects, it will have four concurrent independent states, such as 00, 01, 10 and 11; in case of three aspects, there will be eight likely states, binary 000 through 111.
Nevertheless, a Quantum Computer is much more than just its processor. These next-gen systems will surely need new algorithms, software, interconnects and a number of other yet-to-be-invented technologies specifically designed to take advantage of the system’s fantastic processing power, while at the same time allowing the computer’s results to be shared or stored.
“If it wasn’t so complicated, we’d have one of these already,” says Jim Clarke, director of quantum hardware at Intel Labs.
At the U.S. Consumer Electronics Show some time ago, Intel introduced a 49-qubit processor code-named “Tangle Lake.” Also, the company created a virtual-testing environment for quantum-computing software; it leverages the powerful “Stampede” supercomputer (at The University of Texas at Austin) to simulate up to a 42-qubit processor. To really understand how to write software for quantum computers, however, they will need to be able to simulate hundreds or even thousands of qubits, Clarke adds.
Conventional computing is based on the standard phenomenon of electrical circuits left in a single state at a given time, representing either ON or OFF. Information storage and manipulation in conventional computing is based on voltage or charge – low is 0; high is 1.Also, it uses binary codes i.e. bits 0 or 1 to represent information.
Quantum Computing, on the other hand, is based on the phenomenon of Quantum Mechanics that includes Superposition and Entanglement, the phenomenon where it is possible to be in several states at a time. Information storage and manipulation in quantum computing is based on Qubit, which again is based on the spin of electron or polarization of a single photon.