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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What is Quantum Supremacy? Also, discuss the possible applications of quantum computers in different fields.(150 words)

    08 Jun, 2022 GS Paper 3 Science & Technology


    • Briefly explain what is quantum supremacy
    • Differentiate between classical computing and quantum computing
    • Enumerate application of quantum computing in various fields
    • Conclude on a positive note


    • The phrase “quantum supremacy” was coined in 2012 by John Preskill. It refers to a quantum computer solving a problem that cannot be expected of a classical computer in a normal lifetime. A quantum computer can solve complex problems that are beyond the scope of a classical computer. The basic advantage of Quantum Computing is it’s speed as it is able to simulate several classical computers working in parallel. Google recently announced that it achieved Quantum supremacy.

    The difference between Quantum Computing and Traditional Computing:

    Traditional Computing Quantum Computing
    Traditional computers work on the basis of the laws of classical physics, specifically by utilizing the flow of electricity. A quantum computer, on the other hand, seeks to exploit the laws that govern the behavior of atoms and subatomic particles.
    Conventional computers process information in ‘bits’ or 1s and 0s, following classical physics under which our computers can process a ‘1’ or a ‘0’ at a time. Quantum computers compute in ‘qubits’ (or quantum bits). They exploit the properties of quantum mechanics, the science that governs how matter behaves on the atomic scale.
    In this scheme of things, processors can be a ‘1’ and a ‘0’ simultaneously, a state called quantum superposition.

    Possible applications of quantum computers in different fields:

    • Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Quantum computers would be useful for tasks which handle huge amounts of data. Data mining and artificial intelligence would be major beneficiaries, along with sciences which deal in volumes of data, from astronomy to linguistics.
    • Drug Discovery: It could help with the development of new pharmaceuticals, new energy sources, new ways to collect solar power, and new materials.
      • It can have a major impact through quantum chemistry, which could be important in agriculture and human health.
    • GPS Navigation: Solving complicated optimization problems, such as calculating how to deliver packages in the shortest time while using the least energy could be achieved by quantum computing. Addressing these challenges could save both, money and help the environment.
    • Encryption: Improving encryption technology by generating random numbers.
    • Building Machine Learning Systems better at tasks like distinguishing between real and fake items like bogus political videos.

    Thus, it can be fairly concluded that Quantum Computing has huge potential in different fields. India in 2018, unveiled a programme called Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST) which aims at building a quantum computer in India within the next decade. However, to fully achieve the fruits of quantum computing extensive research and funding are required.

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