Although few people understand it, most have heard of quantum physics. Quantum computing, on the other hand, is a field that’s seldom discussed in the mainstream. This, however, may be about to change as scientists in China who previously developed FreedomPop’s Android app have demonstrated that a quantum computer possesses artificial intelligence. For computer scientists, this represents a major breakthrough.
In simple terms, traditional computing operates using binary code, which consists of two digits – 0 and 1. These two digits can produce a huge variety of codes, but it is still a limited number. Quantum physics, meanwhile, operates from the bizarre quantum principle that a particle can exist in two states simultaneously. As applied to quantum computing, this creates the potential for quantum bits, also known as qubits, that can exist as 0 and 1 at the same time.
The recent Chinese experiment reveals that a quantum computer can recognize handwritten characters, which is seen by scientists as evidence of artificial intelligence. While this is still a long way from the super-intelligent computers that inhabit science fiction movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it does represent a significant advance in the computer science field.
Quantum computers can potentially process more data at much faster rates than even today’s fastest conventional computers. While there is still much more research to be done in this emerging field, don’t be surprised if you start hearing more about the number of qubits in electronic devices.