A quantum computer is predicted to bring with it an exponential speed up in computational power. This is because instead of performing calculations one after the other like a conventional computer, a quantum computer works in parallel, looking at all the possible outcomes at the same time. The result is massively parallel computing, allowing us to solve problems in minutes that otherwise would take thousands of years.
Quantum bits are the basic units of information in quantum computing, a new type of computer in which particles like electrons or photons can be utilized to process information, with both “sides” (polarizations) acting as a positive or negative (i.e. the zeros and ones of traditional computer processing) alternatively or at the same time.
According to experts, quantum computers will be able to create breakthroughs in many of the most complicated data processing problems, leading to the development of new medicines, building molecular structures and doing analysis going far beyond the capabilities of today’s binary computers.
The elements of quantum computing have been around for decades, but it’s only in the past few years that a commercial computer that could be called “quantum” has been built by a company called D-Wave. Announced in January, the D-Wave 2000Q can “solve larger problems than was previously possible, with faster performance, providing a big step toward production applications in optimization, cybersecurity, machine learning and sampling.”
IBM recently announced that it had gone even further, and that it expected that by the end of 2017 it would be able to commercialize quantum computing with a 50-qubit processor prototype, as well as provide online access to 20-qubit processors. IBM’s announcement followed the September Microsoft announcement of a new quantum computing programming language and stable topological qubit technology that can be used to scale up the number of qubits.
Quantum computing will definitely be applied anywhere where we’re using machine learning, cloud computing, data analysis. In security that [means] intrusion detection, looking for patterns in the data, and more sophisticated forms of parallel computing.
It’s certain that the threats to privacy and information security will only multiply in the coming decades.