Understanding Quantum Computing

Understanding Quantum Computing

Bianca Visagie
3 June 2021

Quantum computing is an area of computing focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory. Therefore, in order to understand quantum computing, it’s good to have some working knowledge of quantum theory. Luckily, we’ve got you covered!

Schrodinger’s Cat and Computing

One of the first things you need to wrap your head around is Schrodinger’s cat. Schrodinger’s Cat is a thought experiment that illustrates a paradox of quantum superposition. In the thought experiment, a cat in a box with poison is both alive and dead at the same time. The cat’s state only becomes permanent when the box is opened and you can observe which state it is in. Simply put, quantum particles can be in every state possible at the same time. They take on a permanent state only when you observe them.

What does this have to do with understanding quantum computing? It is crucial to quantum computing to understand that particles can be in every state at the same time until observed.

Quantum Measurement

The superposition of quantum particles brings us to quantum measurement. Essentially, observing quantum particles collapses the superposition state, reducing those particles to a binary state of 1 and 0. This is helpful to us, since in computing you can do a lot with 1’s and 0’s.

However, once the particle has collapsed, it cannot revert back to its superposition state. Quantum computing, however, gives us a way to “reset” the particles back to a superposition state so it can be used for quantum calculations again.

Understanding Quantum Computing

Quantum Entanglement

This brings us to quantum entanglement. When 2 (or more) particles are entangled they will mirror each other instantaneously, regardless of physical distance. When something happens to one, it instantly happens to the other. In quantum computers, changing the state of an entangled qubit will change the state of the paired qubit immediately. Therefore, entanglement improves the processing speed of quantum computers.

Qubits

The basic information we use for quantum computing is a qubit. Linear algebra describes qubit states. While you don’t need to know linear algebra to write quantum progress, knowledge of it is handy. Just like you don’t need to be an expert on quantum theory, being familiar with the concepts will help you understand quantum computing.

The uses of quantum computing

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of quantum theory, we can look at the uses of quantum computing. Here are a few areas where quantum computers do well:

  • Cryptography – quantum computers can break widely used encryption techniques
  • Search – quantum computers can run data searches faster than classical computers
  • Optimization – algorithms can use quantum computing for better speed and accuracy
  • Machine learning – can reduce the costs of training models
  • Quantum simulation – modelling other quantum systems.

Understanding Quantum Computing

The traditional silica processing chips days are numbered and for now, classical computers can manage most of our computing needs. But with quantum computing disruption peering over the horizon, our experts at Integrove have got your classical and future computer needs covered.

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