*Edited by Keith Poon.*

Imagine this for a second: when you flip a coin, it will either land on heads or tails, right? But what if we had a magical coin that could be both heads and tails at the same time?

Ever since the 1960s, the power of our brain machines have been growing exponentially, causing computers to become smaller but more powerful at the same time…but what would happen when computer parts are approaching the size of an atom? (Naughton, 2020)

__Transistors and Quantum Physics __

For example, a transistor in a computer is an electric switch that can either block or allow information made out of bits to pass through. However, a transistor today is 500 times smaller than a red blood cell - almost unimaginable! With its insignificant size, the switch no longer becomes as effective and electrons can travel freely through switches. (*Are Transistors Getting Too Small? (How Small Is Too Small?)*, 2019)

__Superposition: existing in 2 different states simultaneously __

In quantum realms, physics works differently. Unlike classical physics where particles have definite properties like position and velocity at any given time, quantum physics introduces uncertainty**. **Let’s revisit the magical coin phenomenon. A normal bit in a normal computer could only either be 0 or 1. But a qubit - the magical coin - in a quantum computer, could exist as both 0 and 1 at the same time, known as a superposition. (*What Is Quantum Superposition?*, n.d.)

However, as soon as you test the value of a qubit, it collapses into either one of the definite states, 1 and 0. But as long as it’s unobserved, the qubit is in a superposition of probabilities for 0 and 1, which is a game changer for the capacity of storage of information.

An interesting theory that could explain the concept of superposition would be the Schrodinger’s Cat experiment. This experiment states that if you place a cat and something that could potentially kill the cat together in a box, you won’t know for certain if the cat is alive or dead until you open the box so until then, the cat is both alive and dead, thus illustrating the ambiguity of qubits until they are forced to collapse into a definite state. (Metwalli, 2023)

__Entanglement: another strange properties of qubits __

Besides superposition, qubits also have another property which is known as entanglement, allowing a set of qubits to be correlated to each other. Whatever happens to the state of one qubit in an entangled pair also affects the state of the other qubit. (Garisto, 2023)

Imagine a professor who wore mismatched socks of pink and blue every day. If I was observing his left sock and you his right, and one day he was wearing a pink sock on his left foot, regardless of how far we were apart from each other observing him, I would know that you would be looking at a pink sock on his right foot without even having to look at his right foot. This isn’t about cause and effect as we understand it, there’s no signal travelling between the socks but rather they seem to share an eerie connection. In the quantum world, particles can become entangled where they share a combined state until they are measured. When you observe one particle’s properties, the other particle’s state is instantaneously determined, regardless of the distance between them. This instantaneous correlation is unlike anything in our everyday life and is a cornerstone of quantum mechanics.

__Quantum gates __

As we all know, logic gates can take more than one input at once and produce a final output. However, quantum gates manipulate an input of superpositions, rotate possibilities and produce a final superposition as the output. This increases the capacity of the number of calculations that can be done at the same time and the best part? It can all be done at the same time. (Banerjee, 2023)

By cleverly manipulating superposition and entanglement, quantum computers can be more efficient than computers can ever be.

__How powerful is this new technology? __

In this age where we find ourselves in a digitized world, this revelation in the computing world offers transformative potential in various other industries, even those that may not have a technology background.

For example, in the field of economics, it could significantly impact traditional approaches to problem-solving and analysis. By leveraging the principles of superposition and entanglement, computers will be able to process information in parallel, thus speeding up the process of solving optimisation problems including supply chain logistics and financial portfolios. Furthermore, resource allocation can be achieved more efficiently using quantum algorithms. These will also have the capacity to store larger datasets, and the capacity to handle complex financial models with more variables which could be useful for risk assessment and market predictions, thus optimising investment decisions. (Thomas, 2023)

Another example would be utilising quantum computing in tackling climate change as its unique computational capabilities can address issues related to climate modelling, energy optimisation and environmental research. By simulating large-scale climate models more efficiently, this capability is crucial for predicting climate patterns, assessing the impact on various factors of climate change and the effectiveness of different mitigation strategies. Above all, in terms of materials science for energy storage, quantum computing can accelerate advancements in battery technologies and supercapacitors for the world to slowly transition to using renewable energy - not to mention its usefulness in carbon capture and sequestration as well, thus optimising the injection and storage of captured carbon in geological formations. (*How Quantum Computing Can Help Tackle Global Warming*, 2022)

Overall, quantum computing has been a paradigm shift in the computing world with the endless possibilities opened up to us. With quantum computing and its unique capabilities, we may be able to solve various world issues that were unresolvable before.

**References:**

*Are transistors getting too small? (How small is too small?)*. (2019, June 27). Sustainable Nano. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from__https://sustainable-nano.com/2019/06/27/are-transistors-getting-too-small/__Banerjee, M. (2023, August 6).

*Understanding Quantum Entanglement and Gates | by Mohor Banerjee*. Medium. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from__https://medium.com/@mohorb04/understanding-quantum-entanglement-and-gates-daa8857eab32__Garisto, D. (2023, June 16).

*\/*. YouTube. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from__https://spectrum.ieee.org/what-is-quantum-entanglement__*How quantum computing can help tackle global warming*. (2022, May 27). McKinsey. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from__https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/how-quantum-computing-can-help-tackle-global-warming__Metwalli, S. A. (2023, January 18).

*What Is Schrödinger’s Cat? (Definition, How It Works)*. Built In. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from__https://builtin.com/software-engineering-perspectives/schrodingers-cat__Naughton, J. (2020, January 11). We're approaching the limits of computer power – we need new programmers now | John Naughton.

*The Guardian*.__https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/11/we-are-approaching-the-limits-of-computer-power-we-need-new-programmers-n-ow__Thomas, J. (2023, September 6).

*How quantum computing will revolutionise future financial modelling*. Innovation News Network. Retrieved December 13, 2023, from__https://www.innovationnewsnetwork.com/how-quantum-computing-will-revolutionise-future-financial-modelling/37019/__*What Is Quantum Superposition?*(n.d.). Caltech Science Exchange. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from__https://scienceexchange.caltech.edu/topics/quantum-science-explained/quantum-superposition__

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