What is a quantum computer? - Deepstash
Quantum computers
  • Quantum computers are machines that use the properties of quantum physics to store data and perform computations.
  • Classical computers, which include smartphones and laptops, encode information in binary “bits” that can either be 0s or 1s. In a quantum computer, the basic unit of memory is a quantum bit or qubit. Qubits are made using physical systems, such as the spin of an electron or the orientation of a photon.
  • These systems can be in many different arrangements all at once, a property known as quantum superposition. Qubits can also be inextricably linked together using a phenomenon called quantum entanglement. The result is that a series of qubits can represent different things simultaneously.

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  • In situations where there are a large number of possible combinations, quantum computers can consider them simultaneously. Examples include trying to find the prime factors of a very large number or the best route between two places.
  • However, there may also be plenty of situations where classical computers will still outperform quantum ones. So the computers of the future may be a combination of both these types.
  • For now, quantum computers are highly sensitive: heat, electromagnetic fields, and collisions with air molecules can cause a qubit to lose its quantum properties. This process, known as quantum decoherence, causes the system to crash, and it happens more quickly the more particles that are involved.

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