The Potential of Quantum Computers - Aneeva Murray

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

A practical quantum computer.

It sounds pretty complex when you read it, and to be fair, it is complex in reality.

To start off, let’s talk about a simple quantum computer. A quantum computer is a type of computer that uses quantum mechanics to perform certain kinds of computation more efficiently than a regular computer. Instead of using 0’s and 1’s (or bits) like regular computers to store information, quantum computers use qubits. Qubits can not only be set to 1 or 0 but can also be set to 1 and 0. A quantum computer is quite large and isn’t very practical. Making it practical would mean taking the external laboratory of the quantum computer and miniaturizing most of it onto a chip, which would make it more easily accessible. This computer could revolutionize nearly every industry, from changing the way business could be done, by analyzing data extremely fast, to improving weather forecasting, and assisting the economy while doing it.

A practical quantum computer could innovate the weather industry. Quantum computers are able to analyze all the given data at once, which would provide meteorologists with a better idea of when bad weather will strike. Currently, meteorologists use barometers for pressure and barographs to record pressure readings. They also use thermometers for temperature, anemometers for wind speed, actinometers for solar radiation measurements, and psychrometers for relative humidity and evaporimeters/atmometers to measure the evaporation rate, and weathervanes to indicate wind direction. This will save money, lives, and anguish, as well as provide more insight into the current climate change crisis.

Drug development is another industry that could be transformed with practical quantum computers. The computer would be able to review multiple molecules, proteins, and chemicals simultaneously, making it possible for chemists to design drugs more efficiently. Practical quantum computing would also allow for a person’s genes to be sequenced and analyzed much faster than with current methods, potentially allowing for personal drug development.

Practical quantum computers could also solve our current computer problems much faster than we have knowledge of. With regular computers, we have to troubleshoot issues step by step, whereas quantum computers tackle problems all at once. Quantum computers can also solve complex problems that are beyond the capabilities of our regular computers. These computers could analyze all possible solutions at once, where a regular computer can only explore solutions one at a time.

Another one of the problems that practical quantum computers would be able to solve is traffic control. Quantum computers would be able to help streamline traffic control by quickly calculating optimal routes, allowing for efficient scheduling and traffic decongestion Using practical quantum computers would also be powerful in supply chain optimization, air traffic control, and deliveries.

Quantum computers could impact the economy positively, as 30% of the US GDP is affected by the weather. Companies such as NASA are also using quantum computers to analyze data that they collect extremely fast. There are also companies, such as IBM and Microsoft, that are currently doing extreme research on quantum computers. In the future, they’re also looking towards using quantum computers within their headquarters. In the future, you should not only look out for the development of practical quantum computers but also which companies are going to use these more practically. These computers could change the way that so many everyday things are done and could change our lives drastically as it evolves.

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