The Next Generation Of Computers Is Quantum Computers

The Next Generation Of Computers is​ Quantum Computers.
Taking the​ Quantum Leap
While it​ may seem that the​ evolution of​ computers is​ about at​ its end,​ that is​ not the​ case .​
The next generation of​ computers is​ quantum computers.
The reason behind continuing computer evolution is​ the​ continuing thirst we​ have for speed and capacity of​ our computers .​
Way back in​ 1947 an​ engineer and computing expert,​ Howard Aiken,​ predicted that all the​ United States need to​ satisfy its need for computers were six digital electronic computers .​
Other scientists and engineers that followed Aiken added to​ the​ volume they predicted as​ being adequately massive,​ but were also far too conservative.
What none were able to​ predict that scientific research would produce voluminous quantities of​ knowledge that needed to​ be computed and stored,​ nor did they predict the​ popularity of​ personal computers,​ and the​ existence of​ the​ Internet .​
In fact,​ it’s hard to​ predict if​ humankind will ever be satisfied with its computer power and volume.
A basic computer premise,​ called Moore’s Law,​ says that the​ number of​ a​ microprocessor’s transistors doubles every 18 months and will continue to​ do so .​
What this means is​ that by no later than 2030 the​ number of​ microprocessor circuits found in​ computers will be astronomically high .​
This will lead to​ the​ creation of​ quantum computers,​ whose design will use the​ power of​ molecules and atoms for processing and memory tasks .​
Quantum computers should be able to​ perform specific calculations billions of​ times more quickly than can the​ current computers that are based on​ silicon.
Quantum computers do exist today,​ though few and they’re all in​ the​ hands of​ scientists and scientific organizations .​
They are not for practical and common use – that is​ still many years away .​
The theory of​ quantum computers was developed in​ 1981 by Paul Benioff,​ a​ physicist with the​ Argonne National Laboratory .​
Benioff theorized going beyond the​ Turing Theory to​ a​ Turing machine with quantum capabilities.
Alan Turing created the​ Turing machine around 1935 .​
This machine was made up of​ a​ tape whose length was unlimited and which he divided into small squares .​
Each square either held the​ symbol one or​ the​ symbol zero,​ or​ no symbol at​ all .​
He then created a​ reading-writing device that could read these zero and one symbols,​ which in​ turn gave these machines – the​ early computers – the​ instructions that initiated specific programs.
Benioff took this to​ the​ quantum level,​ saying that the​ reading-writing head and the​ tape would both exist in​ a​ quantum state .​
What this would mean is​ that those tape symbols one or​ zero could exist in​ a​ superposition that could be one and zero at​ the​ same time,​ or​ somewhere in​ between .​
Because of​ this the​ quantum Turing machine,​ in​ contrast to​ the​ standard Turing machine,​ could perform several calculations at​ once.
The standard Turing machine concept is​ what runs today’s silicon-based computers .​
In contrast,​ quantum computers encode computer information as​ quantum bits,​ called qubits .​
These qubits actually represent atoms that work together to​ act as​ a​ processor and as​ the​ computer’s memory .​
This ability to​ run multiple computations at​ one,​ and to​ contain several states at​ the​ same time,​ is​ what gives quantum computers the​ potential to​ be millions of​ times as​ powerful as​ today’s best supercomputers.
Quantum computers that have 30 qubits would,​ for example,​ have processing power equal to​ today’s computers that run at​ a​ speed of​ 10 teraflops (trillions of​ operations per second.) To put this in​ perspective,​ the​ typical computer of​ today runs at​ gigaflop speeds (billions of​ operations per second.
As our cry for more speed and more power from our computers continues,​ quantum computers are predicted to​ be a​ readily available product sometime in​ the​ not so distant future.

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