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QUBIT

Why in news?

Researchers from Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology, have devised a new test for fairness of quantum coin or ‘qubit’ (the basic unit of information in a quantum computer) using entanglement theory.

What is a Quantum Computer?

First, how do normal computers work now?

  • An ordinary computer chip uses bits.
  • These are like tiny switches, that can either be in the off position – represented by a zero – or in the on position – represented by a one.
  • Every app you use, website you visit and photograph you take is ultimately made up of millions of these bits in some combination of ones and zeroes.

How does a Quantum Computer work then?

  • Instead of bits, quantum computers use qubits. Rather than just being on or off, qubits can also be in what’s called ‘superposition’ – where they’re both on and off at the same time, or somewhere on a spectrum between the two.

Understanding Superposition

  • Take a coin. If you flip it, it can either be heads or tails. But if you spin it – it’s got a chance of landing on heads, and a chance of landing on tails. Until you measure it, by stopping the coin, it can be either.
  • Superposition is like a spinning coin, and it’s one of the things that makes quantum computers so powerful.
  • A qubit allows for uncertainty.

How are Quantum Computers Useful?

  • Quantum computers aren’t just about doing things faster or more efficiently. They’ll let us do things that we couldn’t even have dreamed of without them. Things that even the best supercomputer just isn’t capable of.
  • They have the potential to rapidly accelerate the development of artificial intelligence.
  • Google is already using them to improve the software of self-driving cars.
  • They’ll also be vital for modelling chemical reactions.
  • That could mean more efficient products – from new materials for batteries in electric cars, through to better and cheaper drugs, or vastly improved solar panels. Scientists hope that quantum simulations could even help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

What is Entanglement Theory?

  • Entanglement is a special type of correlation that exists in the quantum world with no classical counterpart.
  • Quantum entanglement is the physical phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles is generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the pair or group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance.
  • The topic of quantum entanglement is at the heart of the disparity between classical and quantum physics.
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September 2022
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