Quantum computing has the potential to enrich our lives by offering unrivalled computing power. Regular computers can't hope to match the power of the quantum and will eventually be left behind. Either because they're too slow to be practical, or they are so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data.

QUANTUM BENEFITS

Let’s take two examples where quantum computing can put its colossal power to good use: transportation and medicine.

Determining the best traffic routes is one key area where quantum computing can make life easier. Sure, a classical computer can cope with calculating the shortest routes between, say, a dozen cities.

But doubling the number of cities increases the number of possible routes exponentially. In turn this adds hundreds of years to the computing time. But this kind of problem would be no trouble to a quantum computer. With its parallel processing power it could come up with the best answer in a few minutes.

New drugs will be able to be developed faster by the ability of quantum computing to map out large protein structures like amino acids. Large DNA sequences could also be analyzed in a far more realistic time than achieved by classical computers.

WHAT’S NEW? - QUDITS OVER QUBITS?

So far we’ve been referring to qubits - short for quantum bits - as the prime quantum component in any quantum computer. Today, the new kid on the block is the qudit, where ‘d’ is a variable denoting different energy values the qudit can accept. Each qudit will contain virtual qubits, with interaction between them creating quantum behavior.

The reason why qudits are so exciting is that the computing power they offer is exponentially more than qubit pairs can muster. Each qubit can exist as two opposing forms (eg, electron spin) at once, a state known as superposition. So a qubit pair can perform four operations. Add a third qubit and that number increases to eight.

Now consider a qudit which may exist as 10 possible energy states on its own. Already you will see that just by linking a qudit to another gives you 10 squared or 100 operations. That’s a big increase in computing power.

A study published recently in the journal, Nature, tells of the generation of two entangled photon qudits by the firing of laser pulses. These qudits can exist in any of 10 wavelengths of color. That’s a lot of superposed possibilities in one quantum state.