Innovation explained: Quantum computers

If you look around a bit in the IT landscape, it’s hard to get past them: the quantum computers. Both IBM and Google are in a race to develop the first truly functional quantum computer. But what exactly does this new type of calculating machine mean? Here is an insight into what quantum computers are and why they are so relevant for our future.

Quantum computing explained in less than two minutes (Source: The Verge)


A quantum computer is a device that performs processes based on quantum calculations. While the classic computer works in binary form, a previously unknown computing capacity is released. In our current computers, traditional digital calculations are performed by encoding data into binary digits (bits), each in one of two states (0 or 1). Quantum calculation, on the other hand, uses so-called quantum bits, which can also be located in overlays of states. Thus, there are no longer only two options, but a multitude of possible combinations of states.


Quantum computer – the new generation of computing power

For many years, the classic computer has helped us do amazing things. If you only think about the evolution of the computer, we have created great things since the first calculating machines. But despite all the possibilities offered by current IT, our current calculator is nothing more than a calculator that uses a sequence of bit values of 0 and 1 to represent two states. These states define the later decisions of the computer about the data entered by us according to a predefined set of instructions. The quantum computer exceeds these possibilities by worlds, but in the first step it is not intended to replace the classical computer. In the beginning, they should be used for complex problems that go beyond the possibilities of the classic computer.


Quantum computer on the rise

In 2018, the development of quantum computers is still in its infancy. Even though the tech giants are working on the continuous further development of the technology, so far only a very small number of quantum bits have been calculated. In the next step, more and more data must be supplied and the complexity of the processes will increase.

Quantum computers are a logical reaction to the big data world we are already in today. The more data we generate every day, the stronger the computing power needs to be in order to withstand the flood of data. The classic computer is programmed to do this one step at a time, but it has difficulty coping with complex data connections. You even have a word for such problems. A problem that takes more energy and time than today’s computers can handle is called a persistent problem. This is where the quantum computer comes in.

Mature quantum computers are theoretically capable of solving persistent problems faster than all classical computers, no matter what algorithms they use. With all these possibilities, it comes as no surprise that both research and government are working to advance the technology. However, it remains to be seen when the quantum computer will finally make its way into private households.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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