The power and capabilities of quantum computing threatens to rock the very foundations of the information age. These capabilities can be used in various fields and can have astounding effects. Referring to the advancement of quantum computing in the “Technologies: The Future of the Global Information Society” report in 2002, Christopher Altman said:
“An omni-linked world populated with intelligent artifacts will bring sweeping changes to virtually every facet of modern life – from science and education to industry and commerce – leaving no segment of society unaffected by its advance.”
As you can ascertain from this quote, all facets of life will change dramatically with the advance of quantum computing such as science & chemistry, and even the security that protects our personal information.
Science & Chemistry
Food, materials, cloths, fuels and every substance in our lives are created using science and chemistry. Numerous advances have been made in chemistry over the past few decades which is due to computer being able to model the structure of complex molecules. Let’s say we want to model the structure of a molecule of a certain type of medicine. In order to model a molecule, the computer has to solve the Schrodinger Equation (SE). This equation, when solved, provides us with the description of matter at the quantum mechanics level (microscopic level). Using this description, the computer can then model the structure of the molecule. The problem is that the equation doubles in difficulty for every electron in the molecule. This means that conventional computers can only model molecules with no more than 30 electrons, anything more and even the high-end supercomputers of today choke.
Quantum computers, on the other hand, are capable of solving the SE much faster and with less hardware. With a quantum computer the difficulty increases by a very small margin with each electron. This means that even very basic quantum computers will be able to outperform supercomputers in simulating molecules, nature and virtually anything. This will result in massive, exponential advances in the field of science and chemistry, and will affect all facets of life, because thousands of more complex molecules and substances will be created every day. In fact the successful application of quantum computers to science and chemistry can save the world! See how, here.
Encryption and security
In the age where buying, banking and almost anything can be done online; security and encryption is imperative. RSA is the most secure encryption that is used today, because even the most advanced supercomputers cannot crack the system. Why? Because in order to break the RSA encryption is reduced to factoring extremely large numbers (300 digit), which even the fastest computers and supercomputers today choke when attempting. In fact it would take hundreds of years to find the factors of a 300 digit integer using the world’s fastest supercomputer, yet by using Shor’s Algorithm on a quantum computer the RSA would be cracked in a heartbeat and rendered obsolete. This is one example of the massive leap in power that quantum computing provides.
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