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Current Affairs

Quantum computing

Date: 24 October 2019 Tags: Fourth Industrial Revolution

Issue

Google said it had achieved a breakthrough in computer research, by solving a complex problem in minutes with a so-called quantum computer that would take today’s most powerful supercomputer thousands of years to crack.

 

Background

Google developed a microprocessor, named Sycamore, that packs a total of 54 qubits. In their experiment, the researchers were able to get 53 of the qubits, connected to each other in a lattice pattern to interact in a so-called quantum state.

 

Details

  • Quantum supremacy describes the ability of a quantum computer to outperform their classical counterparts.

  • Traditional computing relies on bits, or ones and zeros, quantum computing uses quantum bits, or qubits, that can be both one and zero at the same time.

  • This property, called superposition, multiplies exponentially as qubits become entangled with each other. The more qubits that can be strung together, the vastly more powerful a quantum computer becomes.

  • The researchers  set the quantum computer a complex task to detect patterns in a series of seemingly random numbers. It solved the problem in 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

  • They estimated that the same problem would take 10,000 years for a Summit supercomputer , the most powerful in the world today to solve.

 

Quantum computing

  • Quantum computers perform calculations based on the probability of an object's state before it is measured - instead of just 1s or 0s - which means they have the potential to process exponentially more data compared to classical computers.

  • Classical computers carry out logical operations using the definite position of a physical state.

  • These are usually binary, meaning its operations are based on one of two positions. A single state - such as on or off, up or down, 1 or 0 - is called a bit.

  • In quantum computing, operations instead use the quantum state of an object to produce what's known as a qubit.

  • These states are the undefined properties of an object before they've been detected, such as the spin of an electron or the polarisation of a photon.

 

Qubits

  • In quantum computing, a qubit (/?kju?b?t/) or quantum bit (sometimes qbit) is the basic unit of quantum information, the quantum version of the classical binary bit physically realized with a two-state device.

  • A qubit is a two-state (or two-level) quantum-mechanical system, one of the simplest quantum systems displaying the peculiarity of quantum mechanics.

  • In a classical system, a bit would have to be in one state or the other. However, quantum mechanics allows the qubit to be in a coherent superposition of both states/levels simultaneously.