Computer technology has been developing rapidly for decades. You can recognize it clearly in smartphones and their development. What used to be massive systems, now is just a tiny computer chip. But there is still no end in sight to this fast-paced growth. The so-called quantum computer is advancing quickly and it might raise performance of any machine to an entirely new level quite soon.
But the time has not come yet. The idea of a quantum computer comes from the 1980s. At the time, physicists had been learning about quantum mechanics for decades and wondered whether they could use the strange world of quantum physics for a completely new machine. Sadly, we are still a long way from it being fully developed, but tech giants like IBM, Google, and Microsoft are currently working on quantum computer projects and they all want to be at the forefront.
The Solution of Many Problems?
But when the time comes, quantum computers are supposed to solve problems that have plagued the world for a while. New solutions could be possible due to the enormous computing power quantum processors have. Numerous industries such as tech and medicine hope that this will bring vast progress. Artificial intelligence could interpret even more big data and simple things as weather forecast would be faster and much more precise. Some researchers even hope that they can simulate all processes in nature using a quantum computer.
Of course, different states and organizations are also interested in a quantum computer. Because with mass data came data protection and encryption, and today, it takes a supercomputer more than 100 years to crack the best encryption. A quantum machine could do this in just about a few hours. There is no wonder that countless companies and countries are interested in putting such a marvel of technology to work.
However, researchers are still facing numerous technical hurdles in the implementation. One practical problem is the cooling that quantum processors require in order to work. The most optimal temperature for quantum chips is around -273.15°C, which is also known as ‘absolute zero‘. With the current technology and possibilities, this makes an application of quantum technology for, say, a smartphone more than just problematic.
Scientists even have to reinvent programming languages, because they cannot control and assign the specific state of the qubits, which is only certain after series of exact calculations. It’s a little like throwing dice, but such results are far from satisfactory for quantum computers, which need precision to be built and programmed as well as to deliver meaningful results. So, here is another challenge for science to solve.
However, the first quantum computers already exist, but their application is still very far from being broad. The devices are only tailored to solve specific problems and the next step would likely be to combine existing technology and quantum computers. The future will show when and how this tech becomes mainstream.