Our personal or professional computers are all equipped with microprocessors, which are themselves composed of transistors. According to Moore’s law, the size of these transistors tends to be reduced by 2 every 18 months, which means that by the end of 2020 they will have the size of a few atoms. In the long term, other types of microprocessors are expected: processors based on the quantum properties of particles such as electrons or photons.
At CES 2019, Ginni Rometty (IBM CEO) explained the progress made with her IBM Q System One quantum computer, which is not yet fully ready for commercialization, contrary to what was announced in many press articles before CES 2019. This computer is equipped with 20 qbits. Then at SXSW 2019, Tommy Moffat from The Knowledge Society came to explain how computers could perhaps save humanity.
what is quantum computing?
It is very complicated to explain quantum computing as it is only understandable for a few scientists in the world. Apart from that, here is how we could explain (even if it is simplistic and wrong) this new computer based on the qubit.
(Credit : IBM)
While a silicon processor uses the bit that knows 2 states (1 or 0) to perform a calculation, a quantum computer will use the qubit that knows 3 states (1 ,0 or both superimposed). It is the superposition of states that explains the computing power of qbits versus bits. On initialization, the qubits are in state 1 and 0 at a time, they are superimposed. When we read them we get one of the two states with a certain probability, this is much higher for the correct result (about 99.9%). The whole value of this system is to use the superposition of states during the calculation. The probability reading explains the margins of calculation error indicated by the manufacturers.
The power of a quantum computer is doubled compared to a conventional computer when each qubit is added.
However, for this to work, the qubits must not be interfered with by the outside world. Otherwise, it could change their state and therefore the result of the calculation. For this reason, quantum computers are isolated from the outside world and cooled to a temperature close to absolute zero. Quantum computers, on the other hand, perform calculations with a greater or lesser margin of error. These errors result from the interaction of qubits with their environment. Today, it is acceptable to have a margin of error between 0.1% and 1%.
To summarize and draw a parallel with transport is like going from horse to jet plane to cross France…
Quantum computing in terms of its usage constraints will be commercialized via the cloud and depends on the quality of the data it will use. This access will therefore require high-speed connectivity. The arrival of 5G will allow the democratization of this new computer era within 5 to 10 years.
Quantum computing is an unprecedented promise for the pharmaceutical industry and the understanding of molecular interactions in drug development. It is a new medicine that could emerge from quantum computing in 10 to 15 years. The appearance of new diseases could be quickly eradicated in a few minutes of quantum simulation, instead of decades of research and development in pharmaceutical companies.
This is why Tommy Moffat, at the age of 17, believes that this new computer system will save humanity thanks to this new computing power and quantum machine learning! Welcome to quantum medicine!