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Will Quantum Computers Ever Work?

Will Quantum Computers Ever Work?

Science News

Quantum computing is a field that offers limitless possibilities and incredible potential for future use. This developing field is expected to yield positive results in the coming years, despite having not produced significant new technologies or widespread practical applications. Quantum computers have yet to produce any significant changes, excluding their success in random circuit sampling or quantum simulation, signifying that there are many developments that need to be made in order for quantum computing to fully achieve its potential. 

The suspected shape of the BQP of problem space, the range of problems easily solved by quantum computers. Note that this is not proven; it has not been proved that P!=NP or P!=PSPACE, and if either of these are equal, the shape of BQP would be different.

While quantum computing is not an extremely new industry, it is expected that quantum computers will not be able to function at their strongest without that hardware and software that are expected to be invented in the near future. However, at their current state, quantum computers do not possess enough qubits to conduct many high-level computations.

Qubits are similar to the bits of classical computers, which operate in ones and zeros, however, qubits are able to operate in many states simultaneously, called superposition, allowing the computer to make many different calculations at once. The qubits are able to be entangled, meaning the state of one is dependent on the state of another, allowing the computer to look for multiple different solutions, decreasing the amount of time calculations take. The current largest quantum computer is one that was built by a California startup, Atom Computing, with 1225 qubits. However, as some calculations have millions of qubits, calculations may take incredibly long periods of time to be solved.

The speed that these computers have been growing at is speeding up, as IBM’s Osprey, which was released last year, has 433 qubits.

Despite the growth that quantum computers have experienced in terms of qubits, IBM has refined its focus on creating chips that perform better rather than creating chips with the intention of having the largest amount of qubits. This is best showcased in one of their new processors, named Heron, a 133-qubit processor that is able to perform better than chips three times its size. In further attempts to boost their strength, IBM is looking into different types of qubits, more specifically into fluxonium, which allows for more operations to be performed before decoherence, which is caused by shifts in the environment, causing errors in the calculations.

Regardless of the problems that have arisen, there has been some success within quantum computing, as evidenced by a 127-qubit processor outperforming a classical computer at approximating a property named average magnetization this past year. While this is not a massive breakthrough, it is a step in the right direction and shows how the extreme growth of quantum computing will eventually lead to larger breakthroughs. 

The market expects an increase in the amount Wall Street is willing to bet on quantum computing. As a result of the increasing number of innovations and ideas being put forth for quantum adoption.

Moreover, this capital thrown at quantum computing will lead to significant changes and innovations, which will hopefully lead to success in the industry.

With the increase in knowledge surrounding quantum computers, there have been many discoveries regarding the specific state and conditions that they need to be in to perform optimally. Once these problems are identified, scientists attempt to address many of these concerns by changing their approach as well as their design. Despite the issues that have arisen and their lackluster results so far, many people hold hope that, with further technological advancements, quantum computing holds the key to revolutionizing industries and saving lives.

Will Quantum Computers Ever Work? Written by Quentin Bader