Myths and Misconceptions about Quantum Computing

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In order to define nature at the tiniest scales of matter and energy, quantum mechanics was developed in the 20th century. The next-generation computers are based on the principles of these quantum mechanics.

In 1930s Alan Turing, an English mathematician gave the idea of a universal computer by putting the ordinary computers to mathematical basis.

It was found after half a century that a computer working on quantum physics would have much greater power and Turing, in fact, was working on classical physics. This means that the calculations done by a classical computer in a huge amount of time can be done within a reasonable time period.

The reason behind is that that the quantum computers are qubits base whereas the classical computers encode the data in the form of bits.

According to Prof Jim Al-Khalili, the quantum computer is increasingly getting popular despite the peculiarity of the subatomic world. “The time is near when it is going to be reality,” he stated.

During these events, many misconceptions and myths started originating:

Quantum Supremacy marks the end of classical computing.

It was recently revealed in the news that quantum supremacy has been achieved by the Google scientists, where a regular computer was out-smarted by a quantum computer on a very difficult task.

Although a classical computer has lost the race to a quantum computer, the practical repercussions are marginal, and it is a big possibility that the classical algorithms can occasionally catch up.

Peter Love of Tufts University says that “the term ‘quantum supremacy’ pre-dates even Donald Trump.”

Quantum Computers can outperform normal computers.

The technical Director of National Cyber Security Centre Ian Levy said that “the quantum computers are utterly useless in performing other tasks which are easily performed by classical computers.”

However, according to Peter Coveney who is the Director of Computational Science at UCL, both of them are digital computers and therefore, the numbers they depend on are a poor demonstration of reality.

So neither the quantum computers nor the classic ones can completely and consistently produce the behaviour of ‘chaotic systems’.

Quantum Computers will be commonplace in 20 years.

Ian levy’s remarks on this were that the “Gurus have been saying that for the last 20 years.”

Quantum Computers will replace normal computers.

Viv Kendon stated to the audience of the IMAX that computers are becoming more interconnected and miscellaneous, and the future lies in hybrid machines: “We have no expectations that the quantum computers will sweep away the classical computers.”

Quantum Computers will crash internet security.

According to Levy the security of the internet is based on problems like factorization. A classical computer needs the full electric capacity of the entire UK for around 160,000 years to break a 2048-bit key.

However, there 50 quantum computers at present that have the capacity of 100,000 qubits, which means that they can do this task in a matter of seconds. This is ‘really scary no matter how cool it is’ according to Ian Levy.

Quantum Communication will be important.

According to the quantum theory, the particles can be in two places at once which is an additional example of superposition. Moreover, two particles can be related, or ‘entangled,’ so that their properties are linked, regardless of their relative distance, which some have used for secure communications since they reveal if someone is tampering.  But these only provide links between given points, which is highly restrictive, said Levy.

Quantum computers will do a better job at molding the real world.

According to Peter Love, “when it comes to problems such as designing materials from scratch, the Quantum computers really are the solutions.”

However, he further stated that although for the last 50-60years the classical computers are unable to solve this problem, still the scientists’ do not have enough proof that these can never be solved this way.

Prof Coveney said ‘they can be used to create ‘digital doubles’ of patients, to test different drugs for treatments.’ However, these replications of the body will have to work at a range of scales, from atoms to the level of organs, where classical computers can be used.

Quantum machines could become conscious.

Before opening the discussion, Prof Al-Khalili gave the warning to his audience that anyone who is going to suggest the notorious concept of the mysterious quantum computers solving consciousness, ‘is going to be eliminated and shot.’