Quantum computing promises to solve complex problems that today’s computing struggle. In today’s machines, data is represented by a bits which value is a 1 or a 0. In quantum computing, data is theoretically handled by qubits, existing as both 1 and 0 at the same time. If one qubit, can do two calculations at once, then two qubits can do four, and things get exponential quickly.
Microsoft has developed a software architecture with a program called LIQUi|> (a cheeky mathematical way of writing Liquid) and are testing algorithms on simulated models of up to 30 qubits.
But there is a problem with qubits, because a bump in temperature, a bit of electricity, a stray cosmic wave, a slight jostle – any sort of interference at all (even an inside job – a distraction from fellow qubits) will cause them to “decohere” from their quantum state, at which point the calculation and information are gone. Scaling enough qubits to be useful, doing so in a stable way, and keeping them from falling apart – these are some of the fundamental challenges of the field.