What Is Quantum Computing?


Quick Answer

Quantum computing is the use of quantum computer systems, which use quantum bits, or qubits, rather than binary digits, or bits. Quantum computers solve problems much faster than digital computers. As of 2014, quantum computing is very new and has only been successfully executed with very few qubits.

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Full Answer

Traditional digital computers encode data in binary digits, which exist as either zeros or ones. Quantum computers are not limited to just zeros or ones because qubits can exist in all possible states at a sub-atomic level. Quantum computers use this superposition principle to perform tasks incredibly rapidly.

A quantum computer is capable of performing one million computations simultaneously, as opposed to one performed by a traditional digital computer, as of 2014. A quantum computer running at 30 qubits has the same processing power as a digital computer that runs at 10 teraflops. This means it run at trillions of floating-point operations in just one second, as opposed to a typical computer in 2014, which runs on billions of floating-point operations every second.

Because looking at sub-atomic particles can compromise their value, scientists need to figure out how to monitor qubits indirectly. This may be possible through quantum entanglement, which occurs when separate particles react the same to outside stimulus. This allows scientists to observe the tangled particle to see what one particle is doing.

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