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Could you explain to me in a simple way what the scientific base for quantum computers is? What is the difference between them and the computers we use nowadays? When will we be able to use quantum computers? Thank you for your time.
Question Date: 2019-12-13
Answer 1:

There are two features in particular which distinguish quantum computers from conventional computers. The first is that quantum computers use quantum bits called "qubits" instead of traditional "bits". While bits are always one of two values (0 or 1), qubits have an indeterminate value until they are measured; they can be 0, 1, or a sort of combination/intermediate value. (Until measured, at which point the qubit takes a value of either 0 or 1.) This is called superposition.

Because qubits can take many states at the same time, qubits can essentially try all possible combinations of states at once whereas traditional bits could only represent one combination per computation cycle. Performing an operation on a quantum system is like performing it simultaneously to all combinations of states. This allows qubits to be much faster than bits for certain types of calculations. The enormous advances promised by quantum computing requires not just superposition, but also another feature of quantum systems called entanglement. Entangled qubits are linked such that they cannot be described independently of one another; their states are connected regardless of the physical separation between them. Entangled qubits are like a superposition of states of different qubits.

When a measurement is made on one qubit (forcing it into a particular state), the measurement also influences the states of the entangled qubits. With superposition and entanglement, the number of operations that a quantum computer can perform with a given number of qubits is exponentially greater than is possible with a traditional computer using the same number of bits. One application is in factoring of large numbers, useful in the fields of encryption and code-breaking.

Quantum computers could also be used for chemical and biological research by enabling simultaneous modeling of many potential configurations of atoms in molecules or folding patterns of proteins instead of iterating through each possibility one after another.

[ This is a good video explaining quantum computing in increasing detail.

Written information above taken primarily from IBM's web and its pages, Deutsche Welle, and ExtremeTech, and HowItWorks. Some also paraphrased from these and other in these sites. ]

Answer 2:

The most fundamental way that a quantum computer (if successfully realized) is superior to classical computers is the fact that a quantum state allows "superposition", meaning a qubit is no longer "either 0 or 1", it can be "combination of" or "in-between" 0 and 1. So a qubit stores much more information than a classical bit.

The most famous example to illustrate this effect is the thought experiment Schrodinger's cat, meaning a cat can be "in-between" dead and alive. Though a macroscopic system like a real cat always couples with the environment, which makes it almost impossible to realize a true "in-between" state (this effect is called "quantum decoherence"); in microscopic and mesoscopic systems a qubit can in principle remain in a "Schrodinger's cat" state long enough for computing.

Answer 3:

Hello Petr, thank you for your great question! Fundamentally, a modern computer works by measuring whether the voltage in a transistor is on or off, translating to a 0 or 1 for the computer. Quantum computers are different in that instead of measuring whether or a voltage is on or off, the computer relies on measuring the state of a qubit which can be observed to be on, off, or a superposition of the two.

Basically, whereas there are only two definite states to measure for a modern computer (voltage on or off), quantum computers can measure more, unlocking a lot more potential for speedy calculations. The science behind the idea of superposition is essential to quantum mechanics.

While quantum computers may become more common over the next decades, do not expect to have a quantum computer laptop. Enormous amounts of care must be taken to provide the best environment for quantum computing (think liquid nitrogen for cooling the whole computer down) which will likely make it difficult for portable versions to become available.

Answer 4:

Here are some interesting links about quantum computers:
quantum computing

quantum computing

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