What is Quantum Computing?

(This answer is taken from my book ‘Innovate the Next: Success Frameworks to Innovating Products in Any Revolution). The famous quote before a speaker starts to explain anything regarding quantum science is a reference to the late physicist Richard Feynman: “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.”

I am not a physicist, in fact I am very far from it, but I will try.

Let’s start in this weird way. Think nanotechnology. A Nano is a metre zoomed into one-billion times. Nanotechnology is the examination of things that exist in that zoom level (atomic level) and manipulating them.

For example, normal glue loosens when exposed to high temperatures. Nanotech has enabled zooming into the most basic makeup level of glue/adhesive. In using the knowledge gained from observing these materials at an atomic level, scientists tinkered around and found a way to manipulate them at nano-level to make nano-glue.

A nano-glue is a glue that, unlike normal glue, does not lose its adhesiveness when exposed to high temperatures.

This is what nanotechnology is able to do, it has enabled the zooming into of cells, i.e. cells of living organisms, e.g. humans.

A cell is made up of molecules and molecules are made up of atoms. The radius of an atom is between 30 and 300 picometre, i.e. trillionths of a metre. We are unable to see this with the naked eye; it can only be viewed with nano-lenses.

In comparison, cells behave differently than, for example, a box.

You can represent a box’s dimensions mathematically and in computer bits (1’s and O’s). A cell is more complex to represent both digitally and in computer bits.

To have a quantum thought is said to have opposing thoughts. Quantum mechanics also functions in this complex way.

To quantize is to measure energy at a microscopic level (or you could say nano-level).

Imagine there is a burning coal. The coal is a particle and it carries energy, i.e. the heat it emits.

At a microscopic level, the heat is made up of atoms, molecules and iron in solid, liquid and gas form.

The definition of heat energy in chemistry is; energy stored in temperature dependant motion of particles, including electrons.

Talking of opposites existing in one thing; an electron can have two states existing at the same time, i.e. being up and down at the same time.

How do you state the arrangement that is the current burning coal and heat waves in a mathematical manner? The arrangement would also depend on time and weather, i.e. the environment and the behaviour of that environment at that time as well as the surroundings; e.g. if it was raining, the mathematical formula would be different.

Quantum maths (or mechanics) is the measuring of this strange phenomenon that is dependent on time and the behaviour of the environment the burning coal would be in.

It measures the particles and the heat wave it emits. It is probabilistic.

I am butchering this, of course; however, the intention is mainly that it should form a framework in your mind.

Quantum computing is digitalizing such measurements. They cannot be measured in the same dimensions as a box. Therefore the measurement cannot be in the normal way we put 0’s and 1’s to measure a box.

A cell also would be tricky to measure because it is formed by particles and its inherent energy.

Such a phenomenon is measured in ‘quantum bits’ and not in normal digital bits. Quantum bits are called ‘qubits’ (q for quantum).

This is what quantum computing is, i.e. the computing of qubits and such computers need uber-speed and size to store the data it records. It needs quantum computers, i.e. computers that can process opposing positions existing at the same time.

Quantum computing is currently being used in various investigative researches, e.g. drug development, cybersecurity, weather forecasting, logistics etc.

Let me give some possible uses below.

You are involved in a car accident and the paramedics have nano-censors (or nano-lasers), that can read (zoom) your body right there and then to establish exactly where and how you are injured, and so make recommendations. They are also able to determine what other illnesses or allergies you may have, besides the injuries from the accident.

Running such data may even compute what drugs you are allergic, or possibly resistant to.

The tech will, in fact, be reading the live cells all over your body, i.e. in a sense to track cells that are damaged, dead or emitting fewer waves than normal.

That is a rough explanation of quantum computing, in layman’s terms, from my own ‘scientifically uneducated’ viewpoint.

Excuse the inaccuracy. I hope it helps to paint a picture-like framework. That is critical to forming an initial understanding.

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Click here for the explanations of the other components of the 4IR (5G, Quantum Computing, Biotechnology, Autonomous Vehicles, 3D Printing, Decentralised Consensus, Iot, Nanotechnology, AI And Robotics).

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