Quantum Computing- the use of quantum mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. It’s still at the stages of sci-fi explanations, practical application of this technology is as yet unpredictable mostly because the technology hasn’t been exposed to mass scrutiny as of yet. Honeywell an engineering company that mostly focuses on Aviation and Industrial automation claim that they have created the fastest quantum computer. That is genuinely impressive but, how does anyone tell if that is factually correct?
Quantum Volume is the industry established way of expressing the effectiveness of a quantum computer. A higher quantum volume means more complex calculations can be solved.
In normal everyday processors, the quality can be measured in the size of a semiconductor transistor, the smaller it is the more that can fit inside a silicon chip, most processors now use 7-14 nm transistors. In a similar fashion the number of qubits determines how effective a quantum computer can be. What is a qubit? you might ask, it is the part of the quantum machine that allows them to be in both ‘0’ and ‘1’ state at the same time. This is called superposition and is the basis of quantum computing. The number of qubits is one of the factors contributing to the quantum volume.
Easy enough to understand, the less the error rate the more capable the quantum computer. It is fascinating to know that even the most powerful computer imagined by the human mind is still making errors no matter how tiny.
Connectivity of Qubits
The Wikipedia entry on entanglement is almost useless if one wishes to understand what is actually happening. For now, let’s just say that this is the way the qubits interact and communicate with each other. When the qubits are fully connected, they can execute algorithms more frequently and solve problems within far fewer steps.
So, after analyzing all of that experts have come up with a number for Honeywell’s new machine- 64 quantum volume double of the previous record of 32 by IBM’s Raleigh. What’s fascinating is that IBM’s machine came out in January this year, cutting edge technology out staged in 6 months.
There is no sure timeframe for when quantum computing will become the actual norm instead of the exceptions, we don’t even know if it will ever happen. More than likely an even better way of computing will be invented before the layman ever gets access to one, nevertheless, it is an interesting development.