In the following years, we will move from the digital age to the quantum age. These are the basic elements of quantum computing, one of the technologies with the most disruptive potential.
Digital transformation is creating a change in the world faster than ever. Would you believe that the digital age is about to end? It is essential that digital literacy is an increasingly mastered field to promote open knowledge and the common user has access to academic training in areas such as technology or business. Someone who knows the status of the digital age has a great advantage, as he masters the tools and advances that are more real, powerful, and amazing every day, such as quantum computing.
What are quantum technologies?
In early 1900s, the study of some physical phenomena that were not clear to us opened up to a new physical theory, Quantum Mechanics. This theory describes and explains the operation of the microscopic world, the natural habitat of molecules, atoms, or electrons.
In this case, today’s knowledge of the microscopic world through Quantum Mechanics allows us to develop technologies capable of improving people’s lives. There are many and very different technologies that use these properties, and some of them have been around for almost a century, take magnetic resonance imaging as an example. Today areas like technology, computing, informatics, and electronics are being revolutionized by developments in quantum capabilities.
From bits to quantum bits
The fundamental unit of information in quantum computing is the quantum bit or qubit. Qubits are, by definition, two-level quantum systems that like bits can be at a low level, which corresponds to a state of low fervency or energy defined as 0, or at the high level, which corresponds to a state of higher excitation or defined as 1. However, and herein lies the fundamental difference with classical computing, qubits can also be in any of the infinite intermediate states between 0 and 1, such as a state that is half 0 and half 1, or three-quarters of 0 and a quarter of 1. This event is known as quantum superposition and is natural in quantum systems.
Why is it important to know about quantum technology?
We are in a moment of digital transformation in which different emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, drones, IoT, virtual and augmented reality, 5G, 3D printers, robots, or autonomous vehicles are increasingly present in multiple fields and sectors. These technologies, called to improve the quality of life of the human being by accelerating development and generating social impact, are currently advancing in parallel. It is very rare for companies in the modern digital world to spend time and money developing products that take advantage of two or more of these technologies. Some that we can find is the IoT, the blockchain, or the AI. However, this technology is only destined to grow and be exploited more and more, since there are not many that are currently developing it.
When we talk about the quantum internet, we are talking about a new status that would protect telecommunications like never before. During the last few months and within the framework of Quantum Flagship, many projects seem to border on science fiction literature. But these are technologies applicable to real needs. Atomic clocks use a similar principle, where atoms ensure constant and stable operation.
The quantum internet of the coming years goes far beyond our most optimistic expectations in 5G and 6G. As some experts have pointed out, it would be practically unlimited connectivity.
It is a hybrid cloud that does not renounce conventional computers. It takes a lot of routine information processing, which can continue to be done with them.
The idea of companies like IBM is to sell companies quantum computers, install them in centers suitable for their maintenance, and offer the possibility of connecting to them with classic devices to request the execution of tasks. Thus, for example, a pharmacist could ask a quantum machine, through a program developed with classical computing, to analyze a molecule of interest for a certain application. In the same way, other industries could work, such as a bank, an insurer, or an oil company.