Quantum computing is the future of computing, allowing much more complex calculations and operations in less time. Just as “classical” computers operate with bits, quantum computing is based on the concept of qubits – which enables multiple operations on a single qubit. However, early estimations have predicted this technology will not be available to the mass market until 2025.
Thanks to this new computing paradigm, there will be machines capable of solving complex problems that would take years with today’s computers, in a matter of a few seconds.
A distinguishing feature of this technology is that quantum computers operate in parallel, working in an exponential number of concurrent tasks at a time – as opposed to the baseline PC technology which is based in sequential processing.
The practical application of quantum computing can revolutionise many areas of reality.
For instance, quantum computers will enable the analysis of millions of data points simultaneously and, as such, predict natural disasters such as hurricanes well in advance of the event happening.
Similarly, since this technology will enable large computing datasets in a more efficient manner, it will simplify many of today’s time consuming tasks in molecular biology. For example, finding the most effective drug combination against a given disease, requiring algorithmic computing in the order of trillions for each of the chemical pathways and permutations, will be possible in matter of a few seconds.
Also, it could precisely analyse multiple air traffic patterns to find the optimal flight routes and thus to reduce the times of the trips.
Further to this, quantum computing will also enable complex encryption methods to revolutionise how we communicate nowadays, making possible sending messages that can only be read by the person to whom it is addressed through the use of encryption keys. If a third party intercepts the key, it becomes instantly unreadable.
Another application of this technology could lay in the astrophysics domain. For instance, Kepler space telescope data could be exhaustively analysed, leading to the discovery and detection of exoplanets and even identifying which of them have the greatest potential to harbor life.
Also, the continuous improvement of these machines will lead us to the development of more advanced forms of artificial intelligence.
Lorena, R&D Contultant, Leyton Spain
 Michael A. Nielsen & Isaac L. Chuang (2010). Quantum Computation and Quantum Information. United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge.