Quantum Computing – The Next Step in Space Exploration

Companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Google are working to develop the next generation of technical computing, called quantum computers, using the principles of quantum mechanics to represent data, instead of using the binary code (1,0) as the ‘DNA’ of the computer instruction sets.

This would be a revolutionary change in the way computers process data and it is expected that quantum computing could spark immense data-crunching powers.

The Difference Between Quantum Computing and Using Binary Code

The process is based on quantum physics, were the state of electrons of an atom can be labeled by their location within the atom. By using the locations of electrons in different atoms, numbers (and letters) can be represented instead of the binary code, but in a much more sophisticated and efficient manner; subsequently, resulting in faster computing power.

How if Works

There are five variables representing the dimensions of the electron in an atom:

  • n equates to the electron’s energy level
    • The energy level of an electron is determined by its distance from the nucleus. The further away from the nucleus, the more energy the electron contains.
  • l is the orbital number which represents its angular momentum
  • m is the magnetic number. Although it mentions magnetism, it is actually the shape of the electron’s orbit that we are referring to.
  • ms is the spin quantum number, which representatives the spin of the individual electrons
Illustrative Display of the Atoms in Quamton Physics
Electrons increase in energy as they move further away from the atoms nucleus

It is by virtue of the pattern definitions that can not just accelerate the computing process, but also be able to explore artificial intelligence in a way never before imagined.

The Future of Quantum Processing

NASA hopes that this development in quantum computing will help schedule rocket launches and simulate future missions in space.. “It is a truly disruptive technology that could change how we do everything,” said Rupak Biswas, director of exploration technology at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

Google’s quantum machine is ahead of the other competing companies (Microsoft and IBM), which it says has the “the world’s first commercial quantum computer.” The computer is located at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California and uses a superconducting chip called a quantum annealer.

Google has posted a research paper describing its results and this video below gives a more illustrative view of the theory of quantum mechanics.

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