(Wired.co.uk) Wired’s Amit Katwala of Wired magazine opens, “Quantum computing could change the world. It could transform medicine, break encryption and revolutionise communications and artificial intelligence. Companies like IBM, Microsoft and Google are racing to build reliable quantum computers. China has invested billions.”
We still have a while to wait before quantum computers can do all the things they promise. Right now, the best quantum computers have about 50 qubits. That’s enough to make them incredibly powerful, because every qubit you add means an exponential increase in processing capacity. But they also have really high error rates, because of those problems with interference.
They’re powerful, but not reliable. That means that for now, claims of quantum supremacy have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Most of the big breakthroughs so far have been in controlled settings, or using problems that we already know the answer to. You’ll probably never have a quantum chip in your laptop or smartphone. There’s not going to be an iPhone Q. Quantum computers have been theorised about for decades, but the reason it’s taken so long for them to arrive is that they’re incredibly sensitive to interference.
Quantum computing could change the world – but right now, its future remains uncertain.