Quantum computing is founded on the work of Albert Einstein, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, and Richard Feynman as they sought to understand “quantum mechanics,” i.e., mathematics and physics within a universe described by the theory of relativity. Quantum mechanics is the foundation of modern physics, and yet conventional computers are still anchored in old Newtonian classical mechanics. It is increasingly likely that quantum computing will eclipse conventional computing in the foreseeable future for many complex calculations. Once we go beyond the tipping point, we should expect rapid advances in computing power within important areas of scientific research and development.
As described in the book Quantum Computing, Progress and Prospects, a quantum computer controls and manipulates a physical system of entangled “qubits” to evaluate an algorithm. The answer is revealed (with a high probability – nothing is ever 100% certain in quantum mechanics) by measuring the system’s final state. To succeed, the quantum computer’s environmental influences (their “Hamiltonian,” in quantum lingo) must be controlled or buffered so that such influences do not result in noise and errors, which is described as “decoherence.”
This article is one section of the report, “Quantum Impact — The Potential for Quantum Computing to Transform Everything.” Click here to learn more and access the full report.
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