We all know machine processes information in 0s and 1s. Therefore, the bits can be either 1 or 0 at a time, but never both. That’s where quantum physics comes into the picture with its superposition concept. You may now wonder what is superposition, and what is so special about it? No worries, we have got you covered. Quantum computers, representatives of quantum technology, go beyond 0s and 1s bit manipulation in modern computer types.
More specifically, they go to quantum bits, popularly known as qubits. These can not only be 0 or 1 but also represent both at the same time. That’s the concept of superposition, where qubits have a third state. This is how quantum particles exist in two different locations at the same time. Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s get in-depth about quantum technology, exploring the definition, examples, and application.
What is quantum technology?
Quantum technology works on the principles of quantum mechanics that include quantum superposition and quantum entanglement. We explained what quantum superposition is—what it does is create an infinite range of possibilities. This is great especially for quick simultaneous and parallel calculations. Quantum entanglement is the connection of two atoms, where the change in the properties of one atom results in the change of the other as well. Quantum technology leverages superposition and entanglement to enhance the probability of measuring the correct answer. It tremendously speeds up the process of problem-solving. That’s the reason quantum computers are gaining popularity lately. Along with this, companies are investing heavily in this technology.
Examples of quantum technology
Now that we know what quantum technology is, let’s look at its interesting examples.
Extreme weather conditions lead to loss of life and property damage. However, we cannot eliminate all the consequences. But if we make accurate predictions, we will be in a better position to tackle the situation. This is why quantum technology is used in weather forecasting that harnesses the computing power of qubits. It handles a huge amount of data to improve the forecasts, and it does so quickly. Even classical computers and supercomputers can’t keep up with the dynamic weather conditions. Hence, companies like Atos are collaborating with European Center for Medium-Range Forecasts (ECMWF) to leverage quantum computing and make accurate weather forecasts and other indications.
The development of drugs for curing illnesses and diseases includes working on atomic levels. That’s why quantum computing is perfect for drug development as it can efficiently predict as well as simulate the structure, behavior, and properties of the molecules. In fact, quantum computing can help in all stages of drug development, right from discovery to post-marketing. One example is Accenture Labs working with Biogen to accelerate drug discovery with the help of quantum technology.
The current technology struggles to keep up with the complexity of the problems in the finance sector. The reason being, various financial procedures involve immense calculation that gets more complex as the number of variables increases. With advancement, quantum technology in the financial sector will be able to simulate markets. This will also include predicting the relationship between assets and how the change in one area will have an overall impact. In fact, the potential of quantum computers is explored in assessing the effectiveness of high-frequency trading strategies. Dharma Capital and Toshiba are working on it in Japanese markets.
Route and traffic management
Traffic is a major concern in major cities as there are many road users. It consumes a lot of time and causes inconvenience. Using quantum technology, the real-time traffic data can be shared with the drivers, which will show them the shortest route to their destination. This way, it will reduce the travel time and direct them to the route with less traffic. Overall, it helps to dodge traffic jams, minimizing the wait times significantly. An example is Volkswagen in the automobile industry that used a D-Wave quantum computer to optimize traffic routing in Lisbon, Portugal.
Application of quantum technology
Having covered the examples of quantum technology, it’s time we look at its notable application.
The complex problems that could take years for classical computers to solve can be done by quantum computers within a couple of minutes. This can give you an idea of the computing power of quantum computers. Unlike classical bits, the qubits can take multiple values at once to perform calculations. Plus, the superposition of qubits allows it to encode much more information than the classical ones. Also, as quantum technology offers immense computing power, we can use it to solve optimization problems.
The use of quantum technology increases the accuracy of the system. That’s the reason it is being widely adopted. Quantum sensing measures electric and magnetic fields accurately along with imaging, acceleration, rotation, and gravity. This has led to its applications in aerospace, medicine, and transport. In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, quantum principles are used to improve the effectiveness by reducing the magnetic field. Along with boosting accuracy, quantum computing is expected to reduce power consumption. Overall, making it much more power-efficient than modern computing.
The quantum light signals can be used to distribute the encryption keys used for securing sensitive messages. That way, if the eavesdroppers attempt to steal the information, they will be detected. The quantum effects used for the distribution of encryption keys improve the security of the communication system significantly. Right from sharing information about financial transactions to health records, quantum technology can be used to secure communication.
Even though we can say quantum technology is in its primitive stage, the potential of its applications is hard to overlook. That’s because the quantum world is different from the physical one, where the objects occur in a well-defined state only after observation. Multiple states in the quantum world enable faster calculations. This also lowers the costs significantly. It is used in chemical engineering as it helps to simulate chemical reactions that ultimately accelerate the pace of discovery and advancement. Also, quantum technology can be used with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence to make speedy progress.