New Revelation in Quantum Computers
The computers in operation currently are digital computers. Digital computers utilize data encoded into binary bits utilizing 1’s and 0’s. Quantum computers store information in quantum states of subatomic particles. This may sounds like a conversation by Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter from “The Big Bang Theory;” however, giant strides have been made by real life scientific researchers in the field of quantum computers.
Alan Mathison Turing, a British mathematician and computer scientist, developed a theoretical device in 1930 that utilizes symbols on a strip of tape according to a predefined set of rules called a Turing Machine. The Turing Machine is a predecessor to quantum computing. Turing was a wartime code breaker, distance runner and pioneer of computer science, yet suffered chemical castration for homosexual activity in 1952. Turing committed suicide two years later at the age of 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide. In 2013, the British Queen pardoned Turing after petitions were filed in 2009.
A team of researchers from the University of New South Wales have developed two new types of “quibits” that is believed to solve the accuracy problem with quantum computing utilizing the Schrodinger’s cat illustration. Schrodinger’s cat is an illustration first utilized by Erwin Schrodinger in 1935. Yes, the same Schrodinger’s cat analogy that is mentioned in the “The Tangerine Factor” episode of “The Big Bang Theory” by Sheldon when explaining Leonard and Penny’s potential relationship. The model illustrates the quantum theory of superposition. Schrodinger explains the contradiction between information quantum theory states to be true and the actual nature and behavior of matter observed on the microscopic level to be true.
Similar to Schrodinger’s famous cat, the researchers placed quantum bits into a state of superposition given the simultaneous value of both 1 and 0. During a calculation, the quantum state terminates and the quantum bits resort to a standard 1 or 0 value. The quantum computer should reach an immediate answer utilizing the new findings with 99% accuracy. Small errors after millions of calculations can add up to a large error, therefore, the error rate must be less than 1%. Scientia Professor Andrew Dzurak states, “Our experiments are among the first in solid state, and the first ever in silicon to fulfill this requirement.” Silicon is a nonmetal semiconductor utilized in electronics.
Cyber security experts must begin to prepare for the eventual implementation of quantum computers in the market place with the ability to break public key encryption. Theoretically, private online communication will no longer be protected. Currently, public key systems rely on large calculations to protect data. Quantum computers could quickly solve the calculations leaving data unsecure.
*Royalty free photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson on Flickr’s Creative Commons.