by Michael Kirkwood | 16 March 2017 What is Quantum Computing Quantum computing which harnesses the power of atoms and molecules to perform memory and processing tasks is set to disrupt and revolutionise a number of industries. Quantum computers have the potential to perform certain calculations significantly faster than any silicon-based computer allowing complex computations to be undertaken at incredible speeds. The digital computers we are all familiar with operate with the help of transistors. Digital computers require data to be encoded into binary digits (bits), each of which is always in one of two definite states (0 or 1), and the memory is made up of the bits. A quantum computer is a device that harnesses physical phenomenon unique to quantum mechanics to realise a fundamentally new mode of information processing. The binary digits for data encoding quantum computation use qubits (quantum bits), which can be in superpositions of states. In other words, the symbols are both 0 and 1 (and all points in between) at the same time, meaning that while a digital computer can only perform a limited number of calculations at any given time a quantum computer can perform many, many, many calculations at one time making it incredibly fast. Quantum computing, SEO and other industries Google the world’s premier tech company started working on a form of quantum computing that harnesses superconductivity in 2014. It is hoped that by 2017 the computation power of this technology will go far beyond the most powerful supercomputers of today, known as quantum supremacy. Microsoft too is embarking down the quantum computing path, investing its hopes in topological quantum computing. However, a form of quantum computing may already be in use within search marketing. In October 2015, Google announced the existence of the artificial intelligence component of its algorithm known as RankBrain. The Rankbrain algorithm is a learning system which functions between the “Understanding” and the “Retrieving” phases of the overall search process. This was brought about by user’s ambiguous queries and queries based on colloquialisms which were too hard for Hummingbird to understand, thus Google needed to create RankBrain. RankBrain, like Hummingbird, generalises and rewrites those kinds of queries, trying to match the intent behind them to produce better search results in Googles SERP’s. RankBrain’s development has almost certainly been aided by the Googles upgraded D-Wave quantum computer. RankBrain has potentially secured Googles supremacy in the search marketing arena and it will be interesting what the ramifications for search and SERP’s are in the coming future. Other industries will also be disrupted by quantum computing’s far-reaching implications. For example, quantum computing will likely aid in the management of Big Data for industry enabling organisations to tackle complex data sets and gain valuable insights surrounding their given industries. A new era of medical science has also been envisaged, with quantum computing being leveraged to learn more about DNA-protein codes and targeted therapies aimed at providing solutions to some of the world’s medical dilemmas such as cancer. Quantum computing for robotics Nasa too is interested in quantum computing for robotics development and for future space exploration. NASA, who currently use the D-Wave quantum computing system is researching better and safer methods of space travel, air traffic controls and missions involving sending robots to far-off places. This type of research could potentially make air travel safer than ever before and provide huge leaps in robotics technology. Overall, it is expected that Quantum computers will someday replace silicon chips entirely. It seems that at the present time the technology required to develop a quantum computer for practical real world applications is here. However, we may have to wait awhile before we all own quantum computer in the home. Nonetheless, with Google now working on its own quantum computer alongside other players such as D-Wave system, Microsoft and IBM the race is on and the future is bright. Roll on, the quantum computing revolution.
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