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Quantum Computing, its origin and beyond

Updated: May 25, 2021

Quantum computing is the use of quantum states, collective features, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform computation. Quantum computers are machines that can do quantum computing. They are thought to be significantly quicker than traditional computers at solving specific computational tasks, such as integer factorization (which underpins RSA encryption). Quantum information science includes the study of quantum computing as a branch. It is expected to grow in the next years as the field moves toward real-world applications in pharmaceuticals, data security, and other fields.

Source: IntechOpen

A three-day seminar at the MIT Conference Center in Boston in 1981 is thought to have sparked interest in quantum computing. The symposium, titled "The Physics of Computation," was co-sponsored by IBM and MIT's Computer Science Laboratory. The goal of the discussion was to come up with new procedures for more efficient computing and to push the field of study into the mainstream. Until then, quantum computing was not a well-debated topic of research. Many brilliant minds, including computer scientists and physicists Richard Feynman, Paul Benioff, Edward Fredkin, Leonid Levin, Freeman Dyson, and Arthur Burks, presided over the historic conference.

Richard Feynman was a well-known theoretical physicist who, along with two other physicists, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics. The symposium marked a watershed moment in the development of quantum computing, with Richard Feynman announcing that quantum computers are required to replicate quantum computation. Later, in 1982, he published a paper called "Simulating Physics with Computers." Computer scientists and physicists quickly became interested in the field. As a result, quantum computing research began.

Paul Benioff had previously described a first quantum mechanical model of a computer in one of his publications from 1980, which had served as a foundation for the research. Following Feynman's conference remarks, Paul Benioff went on to build his quantum mechanical Turing machine model.

Shor's algorithm, created by Peter Shor almost a decade later, is considered a milestone in the history of quantum computing. This approach allows quantum computers to factor in huge integers faster and to breach a variety of cryptosystems. The discovery sparked a lot of interest in quantum computing since it reduced the time it took for regular computing algorithms to conduct factoring from years to only a few hours. Later, in 1996, Lov Grover developed the quantum database search method, which had a quadratic speedup and could tackle any problem that required random brute-force search, as well as a broader range of problems.

The first experimental demonstration of a quantum algorithm on a 2-qubit NMR quantum computer took place in 1998. A workable 3-qubit NMR computer was constructed later that year, and Grover's algorithm was run for the first time in an NMR quantum computer. Between 1999 and 2009, some experimental advances were made.

A team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado announced the first universal programmable quantum computer in 2009. The computer could process 2 quantum bits at a time.

IBM revealed the first commercially useable integrated quantum computing system after almost a decade, and later that year, the company added four more quantum computing systems, as well as a freshly designed 53-qubit quantum computer. In late 2019, Google made a significant contribution to the area by claiming to have achieved quantum supremacy in a report published by the Google research team.

The Sycamore processor, which is built up of 54 small qubits and superconducting materials, is said to have sampled a computation in less than 200 seconds. IonQ released its trapped ion quantum computers last year, making them commercially available via the cloud. Today, many tests and studies are being conducted. Since its inception in the 1980s, quantum computing technology has progressed at a rapid pace.

According to a Fast Company report, IBM hopes to finish the 127-qubit IBM Quantum Eagle this year and construct the IBM Quantum Condor, a 1000-qubit computing machine, by 2023. Since hosting the conference in 1981, IBM has remained committed to delivering the greatest quantum computing technologies. Charlie Bennet, a prominent physicist who attended the meeting as part of IBM's research delegation, made a significant contribution to the company's discoveries.

Many discoveries will be possible in the next era of quantum computing. The quantum computing revolution will boost processing efficiency while also resolving inherent quantum difficulties. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, that can be in a "superposition of states," allowing large calculations to be performed at an extraordinarily fast rate.

Almost all industries and corporate activities will be impacted by quantum computing. It has molecular modeling, cryptography, weather forecasting, drug development, and other capabilities. Quantum computing is also said to be a key component of artificial intelligence, which is currently powering a variety of enterprises and real-world applications. We may soon achieve quantum supremacy, and enterprises must be quantum-ready by that time.


To help their work, Newsmusk allows writers to use primary sources. White papers, government data, initial reporting, and interviews with industry experts are only a few examples. Where relevant, we also cite original research from others respected publishers.

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