The Quantum Computing Animated Map: A Visual Introduction to the Future of Computing

If you listen to the hype around quantum computing, you might think of the near future shown in Alex Garland’s sci-fi series Developers is upon us – that we have computers complex enough to recreate time and space and reconstruct the human mind. Far from there. At this still early stage, quantum computers promise much more than they can deliver, but the technology is “on the verge”, writes IBM, “of transforming the way you work in research”. The company has – like most other major manufacturers of what are now called “classic computers” – a “roadmap” for implementing quantum computing and many exciting new technologies (like Quiskit quantum execution environment) built around the qubit, the quantum computing version of the classical bit.

The computer bit, as we know, is a binary entity: either 1 or 0 and nothing in between. The qubit, on the other hand, mimics quantum phenomena by remaining in a state of superposition of all possible states between 1 and 0 until users interact with it, like a spinning coin that only lands on a face if physically engaged. And like quantum particles, qubits can become entangled with each other. Thus, “quantum computers work exceptionally well for modeling other quantum systems,” writes Microsoft, “because they use quantum phenomena in their computation.” The possibilities are exciting and a little unsettling, but no one is modeling the universe, or even any part of it, yet.

“Use cases are largely experimental and hypothetical at this early stage,” McKinsey Digital writes in a report aimed at enterprises, while also noting that usable quantum systems could be on the market as early as 2030. If the roadmaps serve , it’s just around the corner, especially considering how quickly quantum computers have evolved compared to their (exponentially slower) classical ancestors. “From the first idea of ​​a quantum computer in 1980 to today, there has been huge growth in the quantum computing industry, especially over the last ten years,” Dominic Walliman says in the video. above, “with dozens of companies and startups spending hundreds of millions of dollars in a race to build the world’s best quantum computers.

Walliman offers not only a card (unmediated) possible future, but also a map of the past of quantum computing. He promises to dispel misconceptions we might have about “different types of quantum computing, operation and why so many people invest in quantum computing industry.” We have already seen the Domain of Science Walliman chain do the same for areas of scientific studies as vast as physics, chemistry, mathematics and classical computer. Here he presents a cutting-edge science at the dawn of realization, explaining three basic ideas – the superposition, entanglement and interference – governing quantum computing. The main difference between quantum computing and traditional IT from the perspective of generalists is algorithmic speed: while conventional computers could theoretically perform the same functions as their complex quantum cousins, they take years to do it, or would stop and would collapse. in the attempt.

Will quantum computers be able to simulate a universe down to the subatomic level in the future? McKinsey warns, “experts are still debating the most fundamental topics for the field.” Despite the industry’s rapid growth, “it’s not yet clear,” says Walliman, “which approach” among the many investigations he’s studying “will win out in the long run.” But if the roadmaps help, we may not have to wait long to find out.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him on @jdmagness

Briana R. Cross