Quantum Leap

It depends on who you’re asking, but some people will say that quantum computers can either break the internet, which would render obsolete nearly every data security protocol, or it could help us to resolve the climate crisis by computing our way out. These devices are hyper-powerful, and are an emerging technology that exploits the properties of quantum mechanics, that’s why they’re a hot topic today.

It was only a couple of months ago, when IBM revealed Osprey, the latest quantum computer by the company equipped with a state-of-the-art 433 qubit processor, which is at least four times more powerful than the previous model that was launched in 2021. However, the question on most people’s mind is what all the hype surrounding quantum computers is? So, without further fluff, let’s get to the heart of it!

To put things in perspective, let’s look at the field of quantum, which is a part of science that is associated with studying nature’s physical properties at the scale of subatomic particles and atoms. Quantum technology proponents have claimed that this technology can usher in a new era of advancements in fields like materials science and drug discovery.

It’s a prospect dangling a possibility that is tantalizing because it could mean creating, for instance, more efficient and lighter electric batteries for vehicles or materials that can facilitate the capture of CO2 effectively.

As we are already reeling from the climate crisis this technology holds the potential of helping resolve complex issues that are bound to thrust it even more in the limelight. Therefore, it’s not a big surprise to learn that the biggest technology companies in the world like Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Amazon are heavily investing in quantum computing, and angling to stake their places in the quantum future.

How Does a Quantum Computer Work?

When you consider the frenzied interest being drawn towards these utopic-sounding machines, it’s better that you understood exactly how they worked and how they are different from computing in the classical sense. Take a look at every device that we have been using today, from the most powerful computers to the smartphones we carry in our pockets.

All of them operate and have operated always on the same principles of binary code. In essence, the chips in the computers we operate use microscopic transistors, which function as switches that turn on and off to share two values in all possibilities, either 1 or 0, which is also called as bits, a shorter version of binary digits.

You can configure these bits into more complex and larger units, which will essentially be longer strings of 1s and 0s with data command encoding telling computers what they must do, which could be letting you type an email, playing an mp3, showing a Facebook post, displaying a video, and more.

But what does a quantum computer do?

The functionality of these machines is entirely different from the standard computers we are so used to. In place of the bits in classical computers, quantum computing has basic units of information known as a qubit or quantum bit. In general, they are subatomic particles like electrons and protons.

Therefore, the key for quantum machine’s advanced computational powers will lie in its ability for manipulating the qubits. Essentially a qubit is a quantum system with two levels, which enables you in storing quantum information. Therefore, instead of only having two levels one and zero, which is what you will have in classical calculations, you can build superpositions of the two states.


In qubits superposition means that unlike binary systems that have two values possibly, which would be either 1 or 0, so a qubit in superposition can either be 0 and 1 or 0 and 1 simultaneously. If that analogy doesn’t make sense to you, I don’t blame you. To simplify it further, think of it as a penny or a quarter.

When the penny is stationary it has two possible faces, which are either heads or it can be tails. But what happens if you spin it? Or flip it? In some manner, the penny is heads and tails simultaneously, until it will land and then can be measured by you.

Quantum Entanglement

Entanglement is another property that plays a crucial role in how quantum computing works. It’s a rather bizarre feature of quantum mechanics that even stumped Einstein in his era, who then declared it as “spooky actions at a distance”.

So, when in an entangled state when there are two qubits generated, there is a direct but measurable correlation amongst what will happen to one qubit in an entangled pair and what will happen to the rest, irrespective of the distance they are apart. That phenomenon doesn’t have an equivalent in a classical universe.

That entanglement property is extremely essential because it helps bring about a much stronger connectivity between the different qubits and units. Therefore, the elaboration power of that system is not only better but stronger than a classical computer.

What Makes Quantum Computers Relevant Today?

So, to put it simply, these were some of the key building blocks related to how these quantum computers actually work. However, the big question on everyone’s mind is why do we essentially need these hyper-powerful machines, especially when in reality there are supercomputers in existence? The answer to that is a simple one, and it states that the quantum computer will make it easier and simpler to simulate the physical world.

A quantum computer can create a better simulation of the world of quantum, in essence allowing easier simulations of molecules and atoms. That will allow quantum computers to help in the discovery and design of newer and better materials that have tailored properties.

So, if you’re able to design better materials for storing energy, you can resolve the problem with mobility, and if you’re able to design better materials for fertilizer, you can resolve the problems of food production and hunger. And in the same manner, if you are able to design newer materials that enable you to catch CO2, you will be able to resolve problem of climate change.

What’s Next for Quantum Computers?

Quantum computers have the potential to revolutionize many industries, from finance and healthcare to communications and artificial intelligence. As quantum computing technology continues to advance, it will become increasingly powerful and capable of tackling complex tasks with unprecedented speed and accuracy.

With this increased power, quantum computers could be used to solve previously unsolvable problems in a wide range of fields. For example, they could be used to simulate complicated systems that are impossible for traditional computers to model effectively, such as protein folding and chemical reactions. They could also be used to quickly analyze large sets of data, such as for machine learning applications or financial markets analysis.

The future of quantum computing is exciting and full of potential. As the technology continues to improve, it will become increasingly accessible and easier to use, leading to more widespread adoption across different industries and sectors.

As this happens, powerful new applications will emerge which take advantage of the unique capabilities offered by quantum computing. We may even see entirely new types of problems being solved which would have been impossible before the advent of quantum computing technology. Ultimately, quantum computers could revolutionize the way we work, creating entirely new ways to approach complex tasks that could transform our world.

Overall, the future of quantum computing looks very promising and could open up a whole world of possibilities for businesses and individuals. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities offered by quantum computers are sure to expand even further, offering an exciting glimpse into what the future may hold for us all.

The key question is how to make these powerful capabilities accessible in order to take full advantage of them. To do this, there needs to be a focus on developing robust software and hardware platforms which can handle the complexity of quantum mechanics and make it available in easy-to-use applications.

Research must also continue into developing better algorithms and protocols which can efficiently process quantum information. As these advancements are made, the potential of quantum computing technology will only continue to grow and offer opportunities for transforming many industries. Ultimately, quantum computers could be used to solve some of our most challenging problems, giving us insights that were never before possible.

Only time will tell where the future of quantum computers will take us but with the incredible amounts of research being done in this field, it’s certain to be an exciting journey.


Quantum computing has already made its mark on the world and has helped numerous researchers make big leaps and bounds in their respective fields. However, the next ten to fifteen years may be when it really makes a difference and becomes common in the mainstream. That would be a journey similar to the one made by classical computers when they first arrived.

They used to be commonplace in large corporations and laboratories and then moved towards businesses of all size, and homes, back in the late 1980s and 90s. However, as bigger leaps are expected to be made in the field of quantum computing it can’t be discounted that they will encounter new sets of challenges and problems.

Some people believe that quantum computers may never make a useful contribution because they are so complex, and can only handle a limited amount of tasks. However, they are still superior to classical computers and with the right technology can make a big difference to the world at large.

Regardless of the holiday you celebrate this season, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best!

Marc-Roger Gagné MAPP