Quantum Power, Deciphering the Future of Computing

Quantum computing is emerging as a technological revolution capable of transforming diverse
fields. Imagine overcoming current limits in medicine, science and artificial intelligence thanks to
unimaginable processing power. But what exactly is quantum computing and how does it differ
from classical computing? In this article, we will explore its potential impact in several areas and
why it is essential to understand this emerging field.

Quantum fundamentals

To understand quantum computing, it is essential to know quantum physics, the basis of this technology. Quantum physics studies phenomena at very small scales, such as atoms and subatomic particles, introducing concepts such as superposition, entanglement and quantum interference. For a more detailed explanation of quantum physics, you can visit the Caltech Science Exchange.

Concepts such as superposition, entanglement and the uncertainty principle are fundamental to understanding how qubits, the core of quantum computing, work. Now, the idea of quantum computing arose in 1981, when Paul Benioff put forward his theory for harnessing quantum laws in the computing environment, and using simple analogies such as the example given by Professor Shohini Ghose at the MIT conference, the quantum coin that can be both heads and tails at the same time, we can unravel these complex principles, exploring now the fundamental unit of quantum computing: qubits.

Qubits: The basic unit of quantum computing:

Qubits are the core of quantum computing. Unlike classical bits, which can only be 0 or 1, qubits can be in a superposition of states. There are different types of qubits, such as superconducting and photonic qubits, each with its advantages and disadvantages. However, building and maintaining stable qubits is a significant technical challenge. In fact, Dr. Talia Gershon (director of Research Strategy and Growth Initiatives at IBM) describes quantum computing, in a very general way, as a combination of three factors: the superposition of spins, the entanglement of two objects, and interference, which and interference, which helps to control quantum states and amplify the types of signals that are oriented towards the correct response, and then cancel the types of signals that lead to the wrong answer.

Three key concepts of quantum computing:

  • Superposition: unlike classical bits that can be 0 or 1, qubits can be 0 and 1 at the same time until they are measured, i.e., it allows qubits to exist in multiple states simultaneously, while entanglement correlates the states of two qubits even over large distances. This allows multiple calculations to be performed at the same time.
  • Entanglement: Entangled qubits are interconnected in such a way that the state of one instantaneously affects the state of the other. This property is fundamental to the power of quantum computers.
  • Quantum Interference: Quantum algorithms use interference to amplify correct solutions and cancel incorrect ones, increasing computational efficiency.

Quantum Algorithms: Unlocking the Potential

Apart from such basic properties, the real magic of quantum computing is revealed through quantum algorithms such as Shor’s and Grover’s, which allow complex problems to be solved more efficiently than classical algorithms.

  • Shor’s algorithm, for example, can factor integers quickly, which has important implications for cryptography today.
  • Grover’s algorithm offers efficient search in large data sets.

The future of quantum research depends on the development of new algorithms to harness its full potential, and move toward much more advanced day-to-day applications and unimaginable possibilities.

Applications and Future of Quantum Computing

These properties and this set of algorithms and future algorithms, give quantum computing the potential to significantly impact in diverse areas such as medicine, materials science, finance, artificial intelligence, cryptography, can host all these fields and more, for the possibilities as not only large-scale calculations, but real simulations and optimizations of the whole:

  • Materials simulation: quantum computers can simulate the behavior of molecules and materials at the atomic level, which is extremely useful for the development of new drugs and materials. This is the Quantum Leap of life.
  • Optimization: Complex optimization problems, such as planning routes for vehicles or optimizing industrial processes, can be solved more efficiently with quantum computing.

This transformative power also has social and economic implications that we must carefully consider. Although its development and adoption are still in the early stages, the time horizon is promising, and more so as companies like IBM, which are at the forefront of its development, are leading the way to a plausible and not-so-distant future.

Cybersecurity threats

Quantum computing presents both opportunities and threats for cybersecurity. Quantum algorithms such as Shor’s could break current encryption, exposing sensitive information. However, post-quantum cryptography is under development to resist these attacks. In addition, quantum computers could be used to improve detection and response to cyber threats by analyzing large data sets to identify suspicious patterns.

For a more in-depth exploration of quantum computing, I recommend to read “Biography of a pioneer in the field of quantum computing, Richard Feynmanthe”, and other book ,”Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction” by Eleanor Rieffel and Wolfgang Polak. This book provides an accessible and detailed introduction to the theory and practice of quantum computing.

Quantum computing is at an early stage of development, but it has the potential to transform numerous fields by offering processing capabilities that far exceed those of classical computers. From the simulation of materials and drugs to the optimization of complex processes, its applications could be vast and revolutionary. The understanding of quantum principles and the continued development of this technology will be crucial for its successful implementation in the future.

It is precisely in this context that the GICP, within the framework of the QUBIP project, aims to be your guide into this fascinating world. Through four publications, we will explore the basic concepts of quantum computing in a simple and clear way, without losing scientific rigor.

Marc Almeida and Izan Franco Moreno