Quantum Computer Possible in Our Lifetime

Source: Author: Eduardo Rodriguez Published: February 28, 2012 at 8:12 am

The future is closer than you might think. The emerging technology field is crowded with science fiction worthy gadgets and incredible advances that may one day change our lives. In fact many of the ideas that seemed so far fetched just a few years ago are today in the process of being developed and have a good chance of turning into practical products in a few short years. Some examples are the invisibility cloak and the wearable tech that will be able to detect disease and comfort the sick.

Today I.B.M. announced that its researchers are close to being able to use a quantum computer. The company believes it has reduced the number of years it is going to take to create the first quantum computer from fifty to fifteen years.  Big Blue claims that the problem is no longer a physics problem and it is now in the realm of engineering. The quantum computer works with quantum bits or qubits that can hold more than one piece of information at the same time as opposed to regular bits that can simply store a zero or a one.  This ability can reduce processing time dramatically. If the quantum computer becomes a reality, a process that takes today thirteen billion years could be completed in hours or perhaps even minutes (yes it is beyond dramatic).

The problem is that the qubits evaporate too quickly before the information they hold can be read.  The main breakthrough that I.B.M. has come up with is extending the life of the qubits so that they live long enough to perform meaningful computations.  It will take some time for I.B.M. or any company to create a product that can be made available to the market but the possibility exists that we will see such a machine in our lifetimes.  The problem is certainly not a trivial one which is why IBM believes it will takes strong leadership from its own board to make a viable product that uses the new technology.

Those who work in emerging IT technology products know that Moore's law, which states that computing power doubles every eighteen months, will come to an end someday at least according to Michio Kaku, the omnipresent author of Science of The Future. It is easy to see how the quantum computer will create a new playing field and a new level of understanding of computing power.  Moore's law will be replaced by some other theory that will take into account the immense capabilities of the new quantum platforms.

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