Quantum Computing: Entanglement - Science Next
In the last episode of Science Next, we learned how quantum computers could solve more complicated problems much faster than today's computers thanks to a quantum mechanics phenomenon called superposition.
Superposition allows one particle to store more information than just a one or a zero. Today's computers are limited to a “bit,” a binary digit that can only exist as one or zero; but imagine a computer bit that's more than just “on” or “off.”
We compared a computer bit to a coin that's been flipped heads or tails - it's one or the other. In quantum computing, a qubit could be imagined as a coin that's spinning on its side. It's both heads and tails at the same time.
Well, what we saved for this time is a second quantum mechanics phenomenon that could help computers store information a lot more efficiently. It's called “entanglement.”
Entanglement is when two particles have such a strong connection to one another that you only need one of those objects to know the measurement of the other object.
Let's extend our coin analogy. Think of entanglement as two coins spinning on their axis. In the real world, one coin could be measured as heads and the other could be measured as tails. But quantum coins, so to speak, can become entangled such that if one coin is heads, the other coin will always be heads.
These two subatomic particles have such strong correlation - that connection to each other - that they will always be the same value.
So, superposition will allow quantum computers to store more information, and entanglement will allow those computers to store this massive information very efficiently, in a smaller area.
Special thanks Jonathan Dowling and Michelle Lollie with the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy for contributing to this report. Visit the Louisiana Quantum Initiative’s website to read about their work here: https://www.lsu.edu/research/quantum/index.php