History of Quantum Computers
Quantum computers have been proven to be much faster and sustainable compared to classical computers in terms of performance. If you are not aware, the idea of quantum mechanics was first introduced by Albert Einstein and other renowned scientists during the beginning of the twentieth century, and their ideas have been gradually improved by other scientists to produce commercially available quantum computers. Quantum computers are shown to be quite effective in various applications such as simulation of physical phenomena, database searches, data security, and other complex computations that are beyond the classical computers. Some experiments have demonstrated that quantum computers could successfully perform a series of operations within 200 seconds whereas these operations would take thousands of years for a classical computer to complete. Numerous companies have been competing to show that they are the best in quantum supremacy, with speed and sustainability being the most important parameters. Since current quantum computers are kept in special laboratories with controlled environments, the ability to design compact computers that are also stable and with high-performance levels will determine the winners in this case.
Classical Versus Quantum Computers
Classical computers use binary signals, and the basic unit of data for these computers is the bit which can either be 1 or 0, representing true and false or on and off respectively. When the computational complexity increases, the classical computers require more processing power as well as more time to successfully complete the computations, and this means that they may be unable to succeed in highly complex computations. However, this can be made easier and quicker by quantum computing since it could perform all the computations as the classical computers but at a higher speed and consequently less time. The basic unit for quantum computers is the qubit which is similar to the bit, but the qubit can be assigned more than two values and states of either on or off, and this means that the qubit can hold vast amounts of data. Additionally, quantum computers have the ability to process data simultaneously unlike classical computers that process data sequentially.
The New Prototype
In the recent past, quantum computers occupied vast amounts of space, and there have been attempts to reduce space usage for these computers. These models of computers also required a dedicated room with controlled environments, and their installation was quite complicated too. Physicists at the University of Innsbruck, Austria have succeeded in building a prototype of a quantum computer that uses a smaller space than the previous models. The prototype consists of an ion trap processor that is installed in a vacuum chamber and has a compact quantum processor that can fit inside a server rack that is two times larger than the classical computers racks. The quantum computer takes a volume of 3.4 cubic meters of server rack space since the industry standard for a single server rack is 1.7 cubic meters. Initially, quantum computers usually required laboratories that had an area of between 30 to 50 square meters. While classical computers occupy a 19-inch server rack in data centers across the globe, the quantum computers would occupy server racks that are only twice as large as the standard rack. In order to develop this prototype, the physicists have to significantly reduce the size of individual components needed for making a quantum computer including the ion trap processor and the vacuum chamber.
When it comes to the issue of quantum computers, industry standards consider stability as well as the number of quantum bits, with the German government setting this requirement at the minimum of 24 fully operational quantum bits. The physicists at the University of Innsbruck, Austria have met this requirement as they designed the prototype to have up to 24 available quantum bits and in the near future, the physicists aim at designing a quantum computer that uses up to 50 quantum bits that can be controlled individually. The quantum computer is small enough or compact enough to be deployed in a standard server rack in any data center, and it is also stable even though it was not placed in a controlled environment like previously. This is a great milestone for quantum computers, and you can expect these computers to be commercially available in ordinary server racks in data centers across the world in the near future.
The Future of Quantum Computers
The computing power of quantum computers has been shown to increase exponentially for each qubit increase unlike the linear increment for classical computers, and this is because the qubit can have more than just two states whereas the bit can only have two states. More specifically:
1 qubit is able to simulate 2 classical bits
2 qubits simulate 4 bits
3 qubits simulate 8 bits.
Quantum computers have also evolved to use more qubits with a 1998 quantum computer having 2 qubits, a 2018 quantum computer having 128 qubits, and this trend is expected to continue growing. When quantum computers become commercially available, expect these sectors to greatly benefit from the capabilities of these computers:
The field of artificial intelligence
Data security and other areas usually undertake complex computations.