If you’re complaining that we don’t live in a world as we see in science fiction movies, all your dreams may soon come true. Quantum computing has the potential to change both the internet and the world: once it is used, you can be sure that even playing at sites like a casino online will turn into a completely different experience. So, what exactly is this technology, and what does it promise? More importantly, when can we start using it? Below, we answer these questions.
What Is Quantum Computing?
To understand what this technology can do, you first need to know what it is, so let’s start with the basics. The computers we currently use store and process data in a format called “bits”. A bit can only have one of two values: 1 and 0. When you save a file to a computer disk, you actually save the data like “1010101110101010101”. For easier understanding, you can think of 1 as “on” and 0 as “off”. It’s kind of a circuit, and the computer uses 1’s and 0’s to constantly switch between “on and off” to read stored data.
The bit format causes the processing time of the data to take longer. The computer constantly switches between two states, performs calculations, writes their results to memory, clears them, and repeats all this over and over. The demands of end users are quite simple when evaluated in terms of computing, so if you are a casual user, you will not feel any difference in terms of speed. However, when the computer is given a difficult task, such as calculating all the digits of Pi, for example, it can take a very long time to complete the task due to the bit system. For example, in a study conducted in 2021, it took 108 days and 9 hours to calculate Pi to the 62.8 trillionth digit. Moreover, a supercomputer that ordinary users cannot access was used for this project: if home computers were used, it would take years to make this calculation.
The Difference of Qubits
This is the most important difference of quantum computers: they use “qubits” instead of bits to store and process data. It is not an easy task to describe what qubits are, but we can make an analogy. We explained above that a classic computer using the bit system constantly switches between “on” and “off” states. Quantum computers do not need to do this, as a qubit can be “on” and “off” at the same time. Because quantum physics allows multiple states to exist at the same time. A qubit can contain all possibilities at once, and therefore, a quantum computer can complete a given computation much faster without the need to switch between states.
To tell the truth, if you want to learn exactly how qubits work, you need to learn quantum physics first, and even then, you won’t have a very clear idea. Quantum physics is used as a basis for very advanced (and exotic) theories such as parallel universes, interdimensional travel, and string theory. Even physicists can’t agree on exactly what it is. But the explanations above will at least give you a general idea of why computers using this technology are faster.
We’re not exaggerating when we say “faster”: a quantum computer can run 158 million times faster than the computers we currently use. Quantum computers can complete a calculation in four minutes, which normal PCs can complete in 10,000 years. This difference in speed can make even the craziest sci-fi movies come true: a quantum computer, for example, can create a very real hologram, analyze user movements and manipulate that hologram in real time – it has more than enough computing power to do so. Moreover, we are talking about a technology that is still in its infancy: as quantum computing develops, it will be possible to exceed even the speeds currently possible. For example, China announced in 2021 that it had developed a light-based programmable quantum computer that can solve a problem that a supercomputer can solve in 30 trillion years in 1 millisecond.
When Can We Use Quantum Computers?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to give a precise date, but almost everyone seems to agree that we will not wait too long. Quantum computers are devices that are currently in the research labs of giant companies like Google and governments: they are not used in the real world. The biggest reason for this is not the technology itself. Quantum computers are actually ready to use, but there are no “tools” to use them.
Simply put, you cannot install, for example, Windows on a quantum computer: this operating system is designed in bit format. This applies to all programs and platforms currently on the market: you cannot simply run them on quantum computers. Qubit-based new operating systems and programs need to be created. This also applies to peripheral products: to use a quantum computer, you may need to use, for example, your eye movements instead of the keyboard and mouse. Once new operating systems, new programs and new peripheral products are developed, we will start using quantum computers in daily life.