With the promise of being able to solve problems that classical computers cannot, quantum computing is set to
revolutionise a wide range of industries. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of quantum computing, the scale of its potential impact, and the software that is driving its development.
Quantum computing is not a new concept, but its potential impact on various industries is only just beginning to be realised. At its core, quantum computing is the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. Unlike classical computers, which use binary digits (bits) to store and process data, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits.
Heads, tails…or both?
So, what makes qubits so special? Unlike bits, which can only exist in one state (either 0 or 1) at a time, qubits can
exist in multiple states simultaneously. To use a coin toss analogy, when a two-sided coin is tossed in the air it spins and in that moment the coin has more than two states: Heads or tales, or both heads and tails, at the same time in different states. In quantum computing, this phenomenon is known as superposition, and it allows
quantum computers to perform calculations much faster than classical computers.
Additionally, qubits can be entangled, meaning that the state of one qubit can affect the state of another, even if they are separated by large distances. This property enables quantum computers to perform certain calculations that would be impossible for classical computers.
The potential impact of quantum computingis vast, spanning across a range of industries. For example, quantum computing could be used to optimise complex supply chains, improve drug discovery, and accelerate artificial intelligence. In finance, quantum computing could be used to improve risk management and fraud detection. In fact, quantum computing is already being used in some industries, such as cryptography, where it is being
used to develop unbreakable encryption techniques.
Quantum hardware, software and algorithms
This potential is not just limited to specific industries. It has the potential to transform the way we approach
computing as a whole. The development of quantum computing is currently in its infancy, but the potential for growth is exponential. Experts predict that within the next few decades, quantum computers could be capable of solving problems that classical computers could never hope to solve.
However, its development is not without its challenges. The technology required to build and operate quantum computers is incredibly complex, and researchers face numerous obstacles, such as maintaining the stability of qubits and developing error-correcting algorithms.
One of the key drivers of quantum development now is software. Software is crucial in optimising the performance of quantum computers and developing algorithms that can take advantage of their unique properties. There are already a number of programming languages and software frameworks that have been developed specifically for quantum computing, such as IBM's Qiskit and Microsoft's Q#, as well as Delta.Flow Control from Cambridge-based start up Riverlane.
In conclusion, quantum computing has the potential to revolutionise industries and transform the way we approach computing. While the development of this technology is still in its early stages, plenty of work is going on and the potential for growth is exponential. As researchers continue to overcome challenges and develop new software, we can expect to see even greater advancements in the field of quantum computing.