Quantum computers operate using the strange laws of quantum physics and could be used to solve complex problems traditional computers aren't able to tackle today.
Six Ways Quantum Computers Could Change the World
Published: June 24, 2019
Onscreen: A new type of supercomputer is on the horizon. Quantum computers are able to solve complex problems quickly, thanks to quantum physics.
Rob Schoelkopf: A quantum computer is a new device for processing information that employs the unique aspects of the quantum world.
Onscreen: Ordinary computers store information in 0s and 1s, or bits.Quantum computers store information in qubits which can exist as both 0s and 1s at once.
Rob Schoelkopf: A quantum computer can be uniquely suited for doing certain computational tasks that are otherwise intractable today. anything where there is a needle-in-a-haystack type problem where you are searching through a very large number of combinations, a quantum computer can explore them, in a properly designed algorithm, all at the same time. “
Marissa Giustina: I think quantum computing will change the way we do research. It will give us a different tool for asking questions about nature and that’s really exciting.
Onscreen: To outperform traditional computers, a quantum computer needs many qubits to work together. And that’s no easy task.
Marissa Giustina: One qubit does not a quantum computer make. There is a big difference between one qubit and a large array of qubits that all work together and can be controlled coherently. It can be that adding a few more qubits affects your system in more complicated ways that you didn’t anticipate.
Onscreen: Here are six ways quantum computing would change the world.
1. Enhance artificially intelligent systems
Quantum computers have the potential to create really robust AI algorithms
2. Discover new materials
The search for a high temperature superconductors has been the holy grail of material science. Quantum computers could help make this a reality, and vastly improve the energy grid and transportation system.
Rob Schoelkopf: Giving chemists for example insight new ways to synthesize molecules, or material scientists hints about how they could make a better material for photocells or better batteries – these are the things we are excited about and looking forward to in the next few years.
Onscreen: 3. Improve roads, and travel
Quantum computers could predict high traffic hours. Leading to advances in navigation applications and traffic signal coordination.
4. Revolutionize cryptography
A method called quantum encryption has the potential to make messages exponentially more secure. But it also might make current methods of encryption obsolete.
5. Better predict weather
Better predictions could mean more time to evacuate ahead of catastrophic weather.
6. Create more effective drugs
Quantum computing could accelerate the rate of medical breakthroughs.
Quantum computing is still a very young field, but it could fundamentally change almost every industry.
Schoelkopf: We’re on the dawn of creating a whole new industry or paradigm for information so this is very exciting.
Producer/Camera: Emily Zendt
Camera: Greg Kestin, Saorise Loftus-Reed
© WGBH Educational Foundation 2019