Worlds Fastest Object Isn’t A Rocket. It’s A Computer.


By: Abhi Palikala, Journalist

Quantum computing has been promised since 2015, but it has never actually been practically useful. While being promoted as important as rocket’s were to the space age, quantum computing does not have enough “groundwork” to take off. Until now. Recently, many advancements have been made, transforming the clunky devices into light, hyper-effective computing devices. A testament to this has been made by Google, with it’s quantum computer able to solve a problem in 3 minutes and 20 seconds, while the Worlds fastest supercomputer takes 10,000 years. It’s over 4,000,000,000,000 (4 trillion) times faster.

Quantum computing uses subatomic (very tiny) particles known as Qubits. Normal computers use binary code to issue commands, with 1 meaning “on” and 0 meaning “off”. However, quantum computers use particles that can exist in 3 states, with “on” and “off” but also a combination of both. It is this 3rd option that allows quantum computers to be smaller and smarter than normal ones.

Microsoft is making it’s quantum computing system available over it’s Azure cloud system, meaning that anyone can use it’s system remotely, for a fee. Right now, the computers can only be used to solve a limited set of problems, but as time goes on, the usefulness will increase. We sent people to the moon with a “supercomputer” as powerful as an Ipad. How far could we go with a quantum computer 250,000,000,000,000,000,000x (250 quintillion) as powerful?

Just for fun!

Just for fun, assuming the “Supercomputer” used in 1969 could theoretically have stable calculations to get to the moon, and thus be considered “sufficient” to get to the moon, we can calculate exactly how far the Google quantum computer (250 trillion times as powerful) could take us to. Beginning, we find that the moon is 238,900 miles away from Earth. Converting this into light years (1 Ly= 5.879 Trillion miles), we find that the moon is (40.6362616)/(1 billion) th of a light year. That is also the same distance that one 1969 Supercomputer was be effective to (one way). Multiplying by 250 trillion (for, in theory, how far Google’s quantum computer would be effective for), we find that the supercomputer, at it’s current power, could be useful for 10 trillion light years. Of course, this would not be true in real application, but it is fun to do. Some supercomputers like Google’s now days are using this massive computing power to simulate models of how our universe might have formed. Supercomputers may one day be able to solve the greatest mystery of the universe: how everything began.

Related Links:

Microsoft opens its Azure quantum computer cloud service to the public – CNET

How many iPads would it take to match the world’s fastest supercomputer? | Pingdom

Google claims successful test of its quantum computer (