Quantum computing is a type of computation whose operations can harness the phenomena of quantum mechanics, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement. Devices that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers. Though current quantum computers are too small to outperform usual (classical) computers for practical applications, larger realizations are believed to be capable of solving certain computational problems, such as integer factorization (which underlies RSA encryption), substantially faster than classical computers. The study of quantum computing is a subfield of quantum information science.
There are several models of doing quantum computation with the most widely used being quantum circuits. Other models include the quantum Turing machine, quantum annealing, and adiabatic quantum computation. Most models are based on the quantum bit, or “qubit”, which is somewhat analogous to the bit in classical computation. A qubit can be in a 1 or 0 quantum state, or in a superposition of the 1 and 0 states. When it is measured, however, it is always 0 or 1; the probability of either outcome depends on the qubit’s quantum state immediately prior to measurement.
Efforts towards building a physical quantum computer focus on technologies such as transmons, ion traps and topological quantum computers, which aim to create high-quality qubits. There are currently a number of significant obstacles to constructing useful quantum computers. It is particularly difficult to maintain qubits’ quantum states, as they suffer from quantum decoherence and state fidelity. Quantum computers therefore require error correction.
Conversely, any problem that can be solved by a quantum computer can also be solved by a classical computer, at least in principle given enough time. In other words, quantum computers obey the Church–Turing thesis. This means that while quantum computers provide no additional advantages over classical computers in terms of computability, quantum algorithms for certain problems have significantly lower time complexities than corresponding known classical algorithms.
Quantum computing began in 1980 when physicist Paul Benioff proposed a quantum mechanical model of the Turing machine. Richard Feynman and Yuri Manin later suggested that a quantum computer had the potential to simulate things a classical computer could not feasibly do. In 1986 Feynman introduced an early version of the quantum circuit notation. In 1994, Peter Shor developed a quantum algorithm for finding the prime factors of an integer with the potential to decrypt RSA-encrypted communications. In 1998 Isaac Chuang, Neil Gershenfeld and Mark Kubinec created the first two-qubit quantum computer that could perform computations. Despite ongoing experimental progress since the late 1990s, most researchers believe that “fault-tolerant quantum computing [is] still a rather distant dream.” In recent years, investment in quantum computing research has increased in the public and private sectors. On 23 October 2019, Google AI, in partnership with the U.S.
A December 2021 McKinsey & Company analysis states that “..investment dollars are pouring in, and quantum-computing start-ups are proliferating”.
The prevailing model of quantum computation describes the computation in terms of a network of quantum logic gates. This model is a complex linear-algebraic generalization of boolean circuits.
Progress in finding quantum algorithms typically focuses on this quantum circuit model, though exceptions like the quantum adiabatic algorithm exist. There are too much to know about Quantum computing.