In what is being termed as the “Moon Landing” of quantum computing, engineers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, have introduced the concept of a microprocessor that would allow the power of quantum computing in conventional desktop and laptop computers.
This is no doubt a very, very significant advancement in terms of quantum computing, as industry giants from Google to IBM to various countries’ governments around the world have been funding large scale programs that are dedicated to quantum computing in order to unlock its secrets.
While the reported research has pushed forward the technology, there is still more to be done in order develop this in a tangle manner. That being said, if the team of researchers from UNSW has indeed worked out a solution for this, then it is no small feat and could very well revolutionize the world of computing as we know it.
Okay, what is quantum computing again and why should we care about this?
In order to understand quantum computing, we need to first understand the difference between traditional and quantum computers.
Even though a traditional computer does marvelous functions, at the end of the day it is just a calculator at its very core that uses Binary Bits to process its data, with values of 0 and 1 to represent two states in order to make logical sense of the operations and procession of data.
Quantum computers, on the other hand, work very differently than traditional computers. Instead of Binary Bits, a quantum computer uses Quantum Bits known as Qubits. To visualize the difference, imagine the Earth. Now, a Bit can be at either of the two poles of the planet, but a Qubit can exist at any point on the globe. This tells you how much amount of data can be perceived and processed by these quantum computers at once.
They are intended to be developed as a different machine that will be used to solve difficult, complex algorithms that will range from unlocking the most elusive secrets from science, to technology, to geography, to space. The possibilities would simply be endless.
To elaborate further, even with the technological advancements that we have made with our “traditional” computers, they can only process so much data at a time. There are instances where highly complex scientific problems and mathematical algorithms cannot be processed by these conventional computers, and that’s where quantum computers come in.
These powerful machines, quantum computers, will change the way how algorithms are solved. They would be able to truly process multiple functions at a time and solve problems how no one else has been able to do so far. This could range from solving calculations from space missions, to geographical anomalies, to complex IT problems.
The technology will open new doors to the world of space, exploration and IT security to name a few.
What does this have to do with blockchain?
The current encryption of data as we know it from global companies such as Google – ranging from login credentials to emails – uses some of the most secure methodologies available in the world. It is not easy to decrypt that information, and is difficult to the point of being impossible at times.
With the added security of asymmetric cryptography, blockchain takes it one step further. Simply put, it is arguably the securest way to process data at this time.
However, the arrival of quantum computers could mean that these encryptions, from emails to blockchain, could be easily decrypted by those powerful machines if and when they are available.
This poses a threat to the blockchain methodology, the whole basis of which is built upon its complex methods of encrypting data. That is why it’s so important for the blockchain community to be aware of the advancements made in quantum computing. The current methods of encryption need to be evolved in time for quantum computing, which when available, could actually aid to encrypt data at never seen before speeds as well.
As with any piece of technology, the quantum computers can be used for both good and bad purposes and that result only lies in the hands of the human that is using the technology. As an intelligent race and the ones who are developing it, we need to ensure that we prepared for the evolution of computing when it actually arrives.