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Quantum Computing – pros and cons

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Introduction: In this era of supercomputers, quantum computing is considered as the next big thing. It has been theorized that quantum computes will take a huge leap over the supercomputers. To put this into perspective, supercomputers have achieved a peak performance of around 200 petaflops or 200, 000 trillion calculations per second. Quantum Computers will be able to achieve a billion times more performance power. 

Ideology: A quantum computer will be able to perform any task that a classical computer is able to perform. Although, there is a catch. If we use classical algorithms on a quantum computer, it will simply perform the calculation in a similar manner to a classical computer. For a quantum computer to be utilized to its full potential, quantum algorithms need to be formulated. Quantum algorithms can exploit the phenomenon of quantum parallelism. These algorithms are not easy to create, requiring a lot of research and development. A well-known example for one of the algorithms is the quantum factorization algorithm created by Peter Shor of AT&T Bell laboratories. What the algorithm does is tackle the problem of factorizing large numbers into its prime factors. This task is classically very difficult to solve (base on current technology). Shor’s algorithm cleverly uses the effects of quantum parallelism to give the results of the prime factorization problem in a matter of seconds. 

Pros of Quantum Computing

  1. Speed: Quantum computers are substantially quicker than conventional computers at some sorts of computations, particularly when factoring big numbers and modelling quantum processes.
  2. Parallelism: Due to the simultaneous processing of many calculations by quantum computers, certain types of problems can be solved much more quickly.
  3. Large-scale optimization: Compared to conventional algorithms, quantum algorithms are faster and more accurate at solving complex optimization issues.
  4. Simulating quantum systems: A quantum computer can be used to simulate quantum systems more effectively and precisely than conventional computers since it is based on the ideas of quantum physics.
  5. Cryptography: Quantum computers have the ability to crack some of the encryption used by conventional computers, but they also present fresh possibilities for private communication. 

Cons of Quantum Computing 

  1. Hardware: The size and stability of existing quantum computers are constrained, and developing a large-scale, dependable quantum computer is a big engineering problem.
  2. Software: The field of creating quantum algorithms and software is still developing, and qualified professionals are in short supply. 
  3. Cost: Building and maintaining quantum computers is currently relatively expensive, and this may prevent widespread deployment.
  4. Noise and mistakes: Compared to conventional computers, quantum computers are more prone to noise and faults, and fixing these errors is a difficult task.
  5. Scalability: At the moment, quantum computers are only partially scalable, and it is yet unclear how to construct a robust, large-scale quantum computer that is capable of solving complex problems. 
  6. Interoperability: Due to the lack of standards in the realm of quantum computing, it might be challenging to compare and combine various quantum computers.

Conclusion: A classical computer would take, in some cases, more than the age of the universe to produce a result. It is clear that breakthroughs are required not just in technology, but also in algorithm and we do require other supporting technology such as leverage of machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, Cloud Computing to accelerate Quantum Computing development.

Last Updated : 09 Feb, 2023
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