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Quantum Computing Displacing AI as Technical Focus

By Heather Noggle,
UniteNews Staff Writer

AI’s been in ads and the news for the last few years. ChatGPT’s wide release in late 2022 meant we could play with AI in human, conversational ways.  The big buzz in the tech scene is now about quantum computing, which will enable machines to undertake considerably faster and more powerful problem-solving.
Quantum computing’s got a dark side, too, though. With all that power, it’ll be easy to break current forms of encryption – today’s coding and practices that keep private data private.
A California company named D-Wave Quantum even has a stock ticker, QBTS, which is a clever no-vowel form of qubits, the units of representation for quantum computing.  https://www.dwavequantum.com.
Bits in classical computing are always 0 or 1.  Or, we can think of them as off or on. Qubits (quantum bits), in contrast, have multidimensional capabilities. Qubits store quantum “states” – not just a simple 0 or 1. Only when a qubit is being actively measured is it 0 or 1 (on or off, true or false). Clear?  (Not completely, right?) A simpler explanation is that the possibility exists for a qubit to be both 0 and 1 at the same time…until you measure it. It’s like being popcorn and corn syrup simultaneously.
Many major companies are working on quantum computing, and experts offer varying predictions on when it’ll be widely available and frequently used. IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon (AWS), Honeywell, Intel, and others are on that list of companies researching and working to own the space. A late December 2023 article in Forbes by Craig S. Smith provides more detail and a list of possible quantum use cases. https://www.forbes.com/sites/technology/article/top-quantum-computing-companies/
For now, the two things that stand out are both possibility-based.  The possibly of faster and more efficient computing and the near certainty that the technology will also bring cryptographic challenges, as mentioned earlier. The article in the last paragraph called quantum “the end of cryptography.”
What’s next?  Well, quantum cryptography, of course. The buzz surrounds quantum-safe and quantum-resistant algorithms.  In 2022, NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, offered 4 such algorithms. One is for general encryption, and the other 3 are to be used with digital signatures.
“To prepare, users can inventory their systems for applications that use public-key cryptography, which will need to be replaced before cryptographically relevant quantum computers appear. They can also alert their IT departments and vendors about the upcoming change.”
One last article: https://aws.amazon.com/what-is/quantum-computing
Technology is always changing. It’s good to know how and why, and quantum computing will be a thing full of complex math that makes it all happen. In the quantum world, cats will be dogs (and cats) simultaneously, I guess. Decoherent, for sure (see the AWS article).

For more information contact Heather Noggle at hnoggle@codistac.com

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