According to Berman (1998), advancement in information technology and the growing need for large data storage has resulted to unprecedented growing interest in the field of quantum computation. As a consequence of the inevitable limitations of the digital computing, quantum computing has continued to evolve as the next frontier in computer technology. The present essay is aimed at providing an in-depth analysis of quantum computation and itsinherent strengths over the traditional digital computation. The essay will, therefore, comprise of five sections. These sections will include an overview of classical computing, pre-history of quantum computing, examination of the concepts of superposition, qubit and photon. Also, the study will further highlight quantum machine and expound on the need for quantum computers in the currentera.
Classical computing is best characterized by ubiquitous of digital computers majorly personal computers and theoretically by the Turing machines. Berman (1998) added that transistors define the building block for classical computers. The history of classical computers stretches back to Alan Turing, who developed the theoretical concept of Turing machine. Alan's theoretical concept was first realized using valves that acted as the primary component of processing for the first computers. Steady advancement in technology further led to the development transistors that have underlined the building block of modern processors. One of the primary concepts of classical computing has been Moore's law that states that the density of transistors on a chip doubles after every 18 months (Hey, 1999). According to Berman (1998),inSurname2
classical computing, computations are based on binary system in which any integer is represented in the form 1s and 0s Vis a vis, in classical computing, information is stored in the form of string of bits
Pre-History of Quantum Computing
Historical breakthroughs in quantum computing have relatively been limited due to the extreme intellectual barriers that scientists have had to overcome. However, the unprecedented rise in interest in quantum technologies and the inevitable limitation of nanotechnology when it reaches it finite boundary has offered remarkable milestones in the development and growth of quantum computation technology since the 1960s. One of the profound intellectual breakthroughs in the field was realized in 1973 by Bennett, who demonstrated the existence of universal reversible Turing machines (Balazs&Imre, 2013). The concept was further advanced by Fredkin and Toffoli, who discovered the existence of universal classical reversible gates. An additional milestone breakthrough was spearheaded by Benioff, who demonstrated thatprocesses based on quantum mechanical computations could be as powerful as classical computational processes (Balazs&Imre, 2013). Benioff was able to show that quantum systems could simulate the processes undertaken by classical reversible Turingmachines.
According to Yanofskyand Mannucci (2008), the breakthrough of these twointellectual barriers provided the frontier for examination of the intricate relationship between physics and computational processes. These theories resulted into fierce debates among physicists as to whether a quantum physical system could be simulated by a probabilistic Turing machine. The third intellectual barrier that necessitated solution entailed the development of a model for a universal quantum-computing device with the capability to simulate accurately quantum computer. In 1985, Deutsch developed a theoretical model of quantum computer that operatedon the principle of quantum superposition. However, it was noted that Deutsch model's simulation of other quantum Turing machines could be exponential. Nevertheless, Berstein andVaziraniand Yao proved the possibility of Universal quantum Turing machines that could simulate other quantum Turing machines in polynomial time (Berman, 1998). The next stage would require the proof as to whether quantum computing was highly efficient than classical computing. It was paramount that the research community underlines the benefits of a quantum computer over the classical computers prior to dedication of extensive engineering resources and intellectual vigor on the development of quantum computers.
While the fourth barrier is yet to be solved conclusively, Deutsch and Jozsa showed that there existed problems unknown to be in P that have the potential to be solved in polynomial time on quantum computers and being a subset of the class QEP of problems that are solvablein certainty in polynomial time on quantum computers (Kaye, Laflamme&Mosca, 2007). The remaining profound question which is yet to be answered conclusively pertains to the practical design and development of successful quantumcomputers.
Basic concepts of quantum computers Superposition
Quantum superposition constitutes the key principle of quantum mechanics. According to Balazs and Imre (2013) the superposition principle states that a state function (Y) can be expanded as a linear combination of the normalized eigenstates (jn) of a particular operator that constitute a basis of the space occupied by Y. Quantum superposition is as a result of Schrodinger's theory of probability waves that provides for the existence of two waves. The concept is best described by a wave of light passing through a glass. On one hand, the wave would correspond to a photon of light that passes through the glass and the other wave wouldbe photon that bounces back from the glass. However, the principles provide for the possibility of superposed wave that will be both transmitted and reflected from the glass. Vis a vis, it is possible to add up two or more quantum states to produce another quantumstate.
Qubit refers to quantum bits which is a unit of measuring quantum states thatadditionally conforms to the laws of quantum mechanics. A qubit or quantum state refers to q C 2 =(a,
b)Twhere |a| 2 + |b| 2 = 1. Qubit is normally denoted as q in its component form a|0i + b|1i, where |0i = e 1 = (1, 0)Tand |1i = e 2 = (0, 1)T (Hey, 1999). In the same way that the binary system is used to denote information in the form of 0s and 1s, qubit uses polarized states of a photon to denote information. Qubit is thus merely the superposition of 0s and 1s, where asingle qubit can be in any superposition in the formofA quantum register of n qubits can be in any superposition in the form
A photon refers to a quantum of electromagnetic energy. Einstein noted that light was made up of packets of energy referred to photons (Rieffel&Polak,2011). These light quanta have no mass and possess momentum hence energy given by the formula
E=hfWhere h = Plancks constantandf= Frequency of theradiation.
Quantum machine also known as the quantum Turing machine (QTM) refers to an abstract model of a quantum computer. As a quantum computer, information is represented by quantum states through the qubits. In the simplest form, the machine could use the two quantum states of an atom, 0 to be represented by the ground state and 1 to be represented by the excited state. Unlike digital computers, the quantum system could further be populated in any given linear combination of the two quantum states as a consequence of the superposition capability. The potential success of the quantum machines has been noted to exist in the development of quantum algorithms. Successful endeavors in this field have been observed in the form of realization of quantum logic gates. The leading frontiers in this segment currently includecavity QED, NMR and ion traps computing. Consequently, Paul Kwiat successfully implemented Grovers search by use of optical interferometers (Berman,1998).
The topic of quantum computing has elicited positive reaction of physicists and research engineers over its potential capabilities over the digital computers. However, it is paramountthat one should first comprehend the need for quantum computers and the driving forces behindit.
One of the prime reasons offered by Rieffel and Polak (2011) is the continued technological advancement. The steady growth in the miniaturization computers means that by 2020 computing will be built at an atomic level, vis a vis, the capabilities and potential of quantum computing will be highly needed for highly powerful computers. Additionally, existing research and progressive works in quantum computing continue to underline the exponential strength of quantum computers over classical computing. Additionally, quantum computing embodies a challenge to physicists, since the surrounding environment is highly characterized by quantum mechanics, therefore, the need to further understand and exploits quantum mechanics processes.
Berman, G. P. (1998). Introduction to quantum computers. Singapore [u.a.], World Scientific. Rieffel, E., &Polak, W. (2011). Quantum computing: a gentle introduction. Cambridge,Mass,
Balazs, F., &Imre, S. (2013).Quantum computing and communications an engineering approach. Hoboken, N.J., Wiley.
Kaye, P., Laflamme, R., &Mosca, M. (2007). An introduction to quantum computing. Oxford [u.a.], OxfordUniv.Press.
Yanofsky, N. S., &Mannucci, M. A. (2008). Quantum computing for computerscientists.Cambridge, NewYork.
Hey, T. (1999). Quantum Computing: An Introduction. COMPUTING ANDCONTROL ENGINEERING.
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