Qubits vs Bits
070 – Quantum resistance has been gaining momentum for some years now, as advances in technology, especially in cryptography, have allowed the development of quantum resistance-driven assets to become a reality.
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With the advances made, it has been possible to create quantum computers that are capable of using quantum bits (qubits), unlike traditional computers that use bits, but how do they differ?
Bits are the smallest measurable unit of information in the field of computer technology and can only contain two possible values, zero (0) or one (1). Its use is oriented to express the information stored in current computers, in other words, all the information that is stored in a computer can be reflected through algorithms that process them and show the action indicated by the user, but visually such information is stored with values of zeros (0) or ones (1).
Quantum bits or qubits are also the smallest unit of measurable information, but in the field of quantum technology, they have the particularity of possessing the property of superposition, in other words, they can possess multiple states simultaneously.
Unlike bits, qubits can have a combination of zeros (0) and ones (1) at the same time, which means that computers can process information much faster, so that data can be processed in seconds, while classical computers could take years.
To better understand the difference between bits and qubits, the following image shows how bits work with two “pulse currents”, but each one is independent of each other, i.e., it can only be made up of zero (0) or one (1).
While qubits are subatomic particles that, thanks to their superposition characteristic, can be in either of their two states and still continue working, i.e., qubits can be zeros (0), ones (1) or even both. Thanks to this feature it is possible to store much more information and that it can be decoded in record time.
Utopia or reality?
Now, is this new technology available to everyone or is it still in its development phase? And the answer is that it is still under development, since its use has been limited to a few large companies and the people in charge of developing it, because although it is a technology that can bring a lot to today’s world, it can also trigger major problems due to its scope or the use given to it.
At present there are several branches and assets that use quantum resistance as a main feature; among the main ones is the branch of quantum computing, which is nothing more than the branch of creating and developing the so-called “super-computers” due to their great capacity to store and interpret data. These are developed on the basis of what we have seen above, that is, on the basis of qubits and their capacity to process data efficiently and quickly.
However, it is expected that at least in the short term this technology will not be implemented in personal computers (PC), due to the complexity involved, so its use is more oriented to large corporations, such as IBM or Google.
As for IBM, in 2019 they announced the creation of “Q System One”, which would be the first quantum computer for commercial use; the operating system has a 20-qubit processor, which, while an extremely powerful processor for commercial use, in test labs has reached 53 qubits.
In May 2023 IBM announced that they had managed to reach 433 qubits and estimate to reach 1,024 qubits by 2028 if everything goes according to the company’s plan; however, its use is still very limited, as it has a dimension of 2.7 meters and needs to be totally isolated from the outside and at a temperature of -273ºC.
For its part, Google announced in 2019 that it had achieved quantum supremacy, which refers to a quantum computer surpassing a traditional computer in solving a problem; this is possible thanks to “Bristlecone”, the new quantum processor that has a capacity of up to 72 qubits. In spite of this, “Bristlecone” is still under development, since according to several tests it has a 0.60% margin of error, which, although low in percentage terms, is a more than considerable rate when it comes to solving problems.
There is an additional case of companies that use quantum resistance, but in this case, it is a very little named in the media but that in principle has an advantage compared to IBM and Google, it is the company “Rigetti Computing”, a company dedicated to the construction of quantum computers and quantum processors.
Said company announced in 2018 that they would develop a computer capable of processing up to 128 qubits, this due to previous cases of success in generating computers that generate 8 qubits and 19 qubits; the company’s goal was based on creating a progressive growth strategy, thus marking a thus the main goal of 128 qubits. By the year 2022, the company announced that it had already reached 80 qubits through its “Aspen-M-3” project, which shows how Rigetti can be considered as one of the leading companies in this sector, although it does not have a strong media presence compared to its competitors.
Although it is true that since then it has not been possible to generate more than 80 qubits, at least for commercial use, IBM is already testing computers up to 433 qubits, a goal that would have been impossible to imagine until a couple of years ago, which shows that quantum resistance is going from being a utopia to a reality that will have an impact on society in a few years.
It is important to note that while all of these companies have made remarkable progress in the field of quantum resilience, it also poses a risk to users’ cybersecurity, as the greater their qubit capacity, the greater their ability to break encryption algorithms.
While it is true that most of this technology is only available to large companies and even its use has been restricted to research purposes, the risk involved depending on the use given to it is extremely high, so that once the goals set by this branch of computing are achieved, a possible “confrontation” between these “super-computers” and blockchain technology could be observed.
Source: Veriti Global
Media : Veriti Global
Writter: Franco Rubeis