Quantum Computers Are Making Classical Ones Faster, Here’s How
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Quantum Computers Are Making Classical Ones Faster, Here’s How

Quantum computers promise to one day dominate
their classical counterparts like the computers we use today. But classical computers will not go gentle
into that good night. They’re fighting inevitable quantum supremacy,
and they’re using some tricks they’ve picked up thanks to quantum computers. You’re probably familiar with how classical
computers work, information is broken up into bits, which are represented by 1s and 0s. Quantum computers, on the other hand, could
leverage quantum phenomenon to make themselves exponentially more powerful. We’ve got a whole video here that explains
the fundamentals. There are certain tasks that quantum computers
would ideally be suited to. Things like predicting how a molecule in a
pharmaceutical will interact with the human body. This behavior depends on the observation of
a molecule’s electrons, which obey the laws of quantum physics. If you were to simulate them using a computer
that also behaves according to quantum mechanics, you could get an answer much faster than if
you tried to make a classical computer figure it out. Using a classical computer to simulate quantum
phenomenon is like using a spoon to tunnel through a mountain. It’s not really the right tool for the job,
and even if it does work it’s going to take forever. You’d also need an ungodly amount of spoons. But what classical computers lack in quantum-ness,
programmers can make up for with cleverness. With mathematical techniques, some problems
that look rooted in quantum processes could be be “de-quantized” and simulated efficiently
with classical computers. It’s not really clear why some algorithms
are easy to rearrange and simulate classically while others aren’t, though it appears that
the less entanglement is part of the problem, the more likely it is that computer scientists
can manipulate it and run it efficiently on a classical computer. Sometimes though research into quantum computing
can lead to breakthroughs for their classical counterparts. In fact one problem that was thought uniquely
suited to quantum computers was recently shown to be solvable with classical computers as
well. The problem was known as the recommendation
system problem, and you are intimately familiar with it. If you watch a lot of videos on YouTube, YouTube
wants to figure out what you and people with similar tastes will want to watch next. You may have noticed YouTube is terrible at
this.Seriously I watched one makeup tutorial just to see what all the fuss was about, and
now all I’m seeing is Jeffree Star in my feed. Not that I’m complaining. Classical algorithms just aren’t good at
taking all the data about what videos that viewers like have in common and quickly suggesting
other similar videos. That is, until June of 2018. A student at UT Austin demonstrated that a
classical algorithm could compete with a quantum one, and serve you better video recommendations. He created a fast classical algorithm. To go back to that YouTube example, you can
think of the data arranged in a giant grid, where videos are listed along one axis, and
users listed down the side. The promise of a quantum algorithm is that
it can recognize preference patterns and generate recommendations to fill in the blanks in the
matrix faster than a classic algorithm. But the UT student found a way to tackle the
recommendation problem with a classical algorithm that ran in polylogarithmic time, an exponential
speed up! Essentially he drew inspiration from a quantum
algorithm to design a classic one, and it worked. It still has to pass peer review so don’t
expect your recommendations to get better any time soon. But the irony is he was originally tasked
with proving that the quantum solution was definitely superior. He tried to show that no classical solution
could keep up, but found one that did and ended up advancing classical computing instead. Quantum computers still have a long way to
go before they can claim quantum supremacy. Scientists will have to figure out how to
make unstable qubits last longer to reduce the noise and error rates of the machines
of today. We’ll also have to get better at controlling
qubits and designing the quantum architecture of the chip. Even so, unless we develop room temperature
superconductors, quantum computers are going to have to be kept in ultra cold environments
to function. That means that classical computers aren’t
going anywhere anytime soon, but they may get better thanks to competition from their
quantum rivals. In the quantum realm, I can exist with AND
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dot com. Like complicated science in your day, every
day? Well subscribe! And if you’re craving to know more about
the mechanics of a quantum computer check out this video here (it’s real good) Also
the UT Austin student who devised a never before seen superfast classical algorithm
was 18 at the time. What have you done Kylie Jenner? Thanks for watching and see you next time
on Seeker.


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