Looking Deeper into the Inner Workings of Quantum Computers
One of the main challenges with quantum computers right now is the inability to stabilize qubits for a period long enough to perform functions. The reason for this is because of decoherence, which is the quantum computer and its interactions with the external environment. To minimize this, quantum bits need to be in the most isolated vacuum possible, which is why quantum computers need to be close to absolute zero in temperature, and need to consist of a vacuum. While still in the early stages of alternatives to this approach, there needs to be a way to bypass this challenge if we are to create smaller, more efficient quantum computers.
According to Mikhail Lukin, a physics professor at Harvard, the current way to program quantum computers is to shine lasers through the vacuum to activate single atoms. This may pose a few challenges in terms the types of programs that can be put into quantum computers for encryption among other things. However, research is already being done with creating algorithms so that they can be readily implemented when quantum computing is ready. Alibaba and the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore are working on a way to use long-scale quantum entanglement to create a new quantum cryptographic protocol, and an algorithm called Shor’s algorithm can factor numbers much faster than any classical computer can. Once the problem with quantum stability can be fixed, then these algorithms can be readily implemented, further speeding up the integration of quantum computers into society.