Quantum computing is the area of study focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature and behavior of energy and matter on the quantum (atomic and subatomic) level. Development of a quantum computer, if practical, would mark a leap forward in computing capability far greater than that from the abacus to a modern day supercomputer, with performance gains in the billion-fold realm and beyond.
The quantum computer, following the laws of quantum physics, would gain enormous processing power through the ability to be in multiple states, and to perform tasks using all possible transformations simultaneously. Current centers of research in quantum computing include MIT, IBM, Oxford University, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Scientists have been exploring quantum computing for decades. The challenge has been verifying that a quantum machine is actually doing quantum computations. That’s because in a quantum system, the very act of observing information in transit changes the nature of that data. Researchers at IBM’s experimental quantum computing group have begun to unlock difficult problems in quantum computing, such as identifying errors.
Recently, D-Wave Systems announced that it broke the 1,000 qubit barrier, which (if true) would make it the most powerful computer on the planet. Now, IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Google, as well as D-Wave, are trying to figure out how to advance and commercialize the technology.
The Concept Behind Quantum Computing (Video)