What is Quantum Computing?
Conventional computers use bits. Quantum computers use quantum bits (aka qubits.) Computers that use qubits store a HUGE amount of information. They also use less energy than traditional computers.
So, it’s just a faster computer?
It’s like going from being a retired turtle to a cheetah in a race. The processors will be 1,000,000+ times faster than the ones we use now. No hyperbole.
I still don’t get the big deal.
A core part of Artificial Intelligence is mimicking our (human) brains. Our brains do many things in the background — movement, digestion, breathing, for example — and they allow us to see, hear, and think, too. Quantum computing would enable computers to function like our brains A LOT faster. Many believe this will bring us closer to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence.)
So, what will these cheetah computers do for me exactly? Besides, you know, killing us all like in a sci-fi horror movie.
Quantum computing allows machines to perform uber-complex calculations faster, more efficiently, and more effectively than ever before. Many believe this will enable us to solve unsolvable problems.
These days, our computers are binary. Calculations are made using a series of ones and zeros. Quantum Computing uses superposition. Superposition is the ability of a quantum system to be in multiple states simultaneously until it’s measured. This loosely translates to Quantum Computing uses ones, zeroes, and states.
Imagine a light switch. Up or down. On or off. This is how our current computers measure things.
Now take that same light switch. With Quantum Computing, you’re measuring the same on and off positions and EVERY STATE that happens between you flicking it from on to off.
People use the same example with coins a lot. Heads/tails, right? With Quantum Computing, you measure the heads and the tails, of course, but you also measure ALL the states a coin is in while spinning. That means a coin could be a one, a zero, or both simultaneously.
So, why don’t we have these quantum things right now?
They need to maintain a temperature near -460 degrees Fahrenheit (absolute zero) at all times, so you can’t really carry around a quantum laptop. Yet.
Where can Quantum Computing be used in Marketing?
Quantum Computing allows us to analyze enormous amounts of data and solve problems on a huge scale. It’s also faster than our current computers at predicting and forecasting as it handles large and complex data sets more efficiently. Even skeptics are excited about how much better Quantum Computing is at finding patterns in the data and how we can use those patterns to predict the behavior of even the most complex systems. Many believe it will overhaul the ad industry, fraud detection, personalization, and encryption.
One of the areas I’m most excited about is Quantum-enhanced AI. Quantum algorithms will enhance machine learning and machine learning will help us better understand quantum systems. Very meta, I know.
Will I use one in my life?
The answer to that one is split. With the way things are progressing, perhaps. Thirty years ago, few folks were anticipating you’d carry around a computer in your pocket, and today, we all have them. What matters now is that accessing that kind of power has tremendous opportunities for all humankind. Fasten your rocket seatbelts!
Where will you use Quantum Computing? Have questions about it? Tweet @amyafrica or write firstname.lastname@example.org
A Down-and-Dirty Definition for Marketers. (Read more about these here.)