Researchers at Harvard and the University of Queensland have come up with a novel, just-crazy-enough-to-work method for modeling and simulating quantum systems: use a quantum computer. Employing the superior computing power of a custom-built quantum computing system, the researchers were able to determine the precise energy of molecular hydrogen for the first time, an impossible feat using classical computing methods. By doing so, they've opened the box on what could be a computing breakthrough stretching across disciplines.
Simulating complex chemical systems is extremely tricky. While classical computing methods can model, say, a simple molecule, simulating chemical systems, be they complex molecules or full-blown chemical chain reactions, requires exponentially greater computing power. Using conventional computing, that means exponentially longer computing times. As such, theoretical chemists often employ a lot of guesswork and approximation in their labors, which naturally leads to imprecise outcomes.
Quantum computing simplifies such problems because of the dexterity of its computing bits. Rather than using the zeros and ones of binary code, quantum computers store data as qubits, multi-tasking little bits that can represent both zero and one simultaneously. Plug a system into a quantum computer and the qubits can quickly consider all possible answers by arranging its qubits into all workable arrangements of zeros and ones. This cuts the number of computations needed considerably; when done, researchers simply measure the qubits and extract their answers.
The approach could have an impact on fields as diverse as cryptography, medicine and materials science, as it can churn out extremely accurate data with a fraction of the computing strength. As for the Harvard/Queensland team, it took only 20 quantum measurements informed by information in two entangled photons to generate an extremely accurate measurement of each geometric state of molecular hydrogen. Approximation, your days are numbered.
Sweet! So... when does it go into the space program?
Now I will able to do balance my check book.
This is quite amazing. Just 20 measurements?!?! For something as complicated as this. 2020 is gonna be so awesome!!!
Yeay to the end of encryption privacy and trusting anything.
So, does this then violate Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?
Actually, quantum computing will make encryption MORE secure, not less.
No, that principle holds that you can't accurately measure both the location and the momentum of a particle at the same time. Nothing to do with this really.
hello Quantum Tax
Actually, while you're correct about location and momentum, it also states the same relationship about energy and time. So,
(change in Energy)*(change in time)>/ hbar/2
Or, the product of the changes in energy and time is greater than or equal to the quotient of h bar and 2.
This will make for more complex encryption, also rendering most current encryption useless.
anything about what type of quantum computer they used? Do you mean Quantum computers as in those mythical systems that are supposted to replace conventional computers that dont exist except for a record 4-qbit procerssor made by intel labs under near absolute 0 conditions or some other kind of quantum computer no-one has heard about?
try the "quantum computer" link for more information.
@WakaWaka: Why not, they're taxing everything else.
@Slaziman: I can see that the eventual result of Q-computing might be the development of better encryption. But I get the impression it could prove disastrous with respect to materials encrypted with current technology.
We may be in for some interesting times. Meanwhile some of us might be wise to find an old-fashioned safe.
I may as well get in on the cool new Qbit action, eh? But looking over my breadboarding stuff, I find I'm short of quantum wells and spin detectors. Damn.
does this mean I can play solitare faster?
Otoko_tenshi, I'm not sure which quantum processor they used. I am under the same impression as you, that none exist save for the recent tiny ones that only work under extreme conditions. However, the idea of a "mythical quantum computer" that will replace conventional computers is indeed, mythical. Quantum computing is a method where we take advantage of the superstate of particles to simultaniously try all posible outcomes. AKA, brute force method is done in a few calculations, instead of thousands.
Thats how current encryption will be rendered "nearly" useless, because all possible encyrptions will be tried simultaniously. I say "nearly" because you may be able to calculate every combination simultaniously, but will you be able to enter it?
However, for linear processing, where each calculation relies on previous calculations. In such a scenario, quantum computers will be slower than standard ones. The future computers will be duo-core or tri-core, utalizing a traditional processor, and quantum processor. Programming will be written (or a third processor will determine) which processor the calculations demand.
When we consider that approximately 35 years ago computing was largely unknown and the technology cumbersome. Fast forward, and we now have computing that permits work from remote locations, the quantum that is taking medicine through the next transition and mobile devises that ensure communication is at its premium .
Great, the geniuses on wall street can calculate how to screw us out of a $ 2 trillion faster!
I know there are great benefits scientifically for this device. But with great power comes great responsibility.
No matter how many explanations of Quantum computing I hear it always puts me in mind of the classic New Yorker cartoon where two scientists are looking at an equation on a blackboard where in the middle one scientist has written “something magic happens” and the second scientist says “We should probably be more specific here.” I think I’m a smart guy, and I get the whole q-bit concept, I just don’t understand HOW the damn thing is supposed to work!