General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Anybody here familiar with quantum computing?

Asked by LostInParadise (32042points) August 26th, 2023
7 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

The current issue of Scientific American has a short article advising that quantum mechanics and quantum computing be taught in K-12. They say that Ohio has added quantum computing to their K-12 curriculum.

The only explanation they give of quantum computers is that they have qubits in place of bits, and the qubits can be one and zero at the same time and interact with one another via probabilistic rules. At first glance, this does not seem very useful.

What I would like to know is, what can a quantum computer do more quickly than a regular computer, and what is an example of a quantum computer statement that can be used to get the job done?

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Zaku's avatar

I believe the hope is that quantum entanglement can be used to exceed the speed of light when transmitting information, and so hopefully allow faster computing than might otherwise be possible.

flutherother's avatar

I’m not familiar with quantum computing but I don’t think quantum entanglement allows the transfer of information even in theory. In future it may be possible to break encrypted messages by using quantum computers to factor large numbers, something possible in theory, but as I understand it that day is some way off and by then we will have alternative methods of encryption that are more secure.

Forever_Free's avatar

Very familiar with the subject.
Quantum computers outperform supercomputers in terms of speed and power. They can perform multiple computations at the same time, making them ideal for tackling complex problems requiring massive amounts of data to be processed quickly.
Qubits are extremely sensitive to their environment, and even small disturbances can cause them to lose their quantum properties, a phenomenon known as decoherence.
Quantum encryption is one example of a practical use than spans industries.

gorillapaws's avatar

IBM allows you to upload code that executes on their quantum computer. It used to be free, for limited access, but that may have changed.

ragingloli's avatar

An analogy I have seen for entanglement is socks. You blindly take out a pair of socks, and put one sock on your leg, and the other sock on your friend’s leg, and send him whereever.
When you look at your sock, you instantly know the colour of the sock on your friend’s leg.
What is instant is your update in your knowledge of the sock, but your friend does not know, until you tell him. As such, it can not be used as a method for faster than light communication, since you telling him still has to be done conventionally.

LostInParadise's avatar

I found this overview, which makes things a little bit clearer.

flutherother's avatar

@ragingloli Your sock analogy is a classical correlation and there is nothing mysterious going on. In the quantum world you have a range of socks in your wardrobe and you haven’t yet decided which to wear. Your friend has an identical range of socks and they haven’t chosen which to wear either. But once you decide on pink your friend is more likely to choose pink as well though there is no possible communication between you and you could be at opposite sides of the galaxy.

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