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Video Offers a “Simple” Explanation of Quantum Computers

Alright folks, put on your thinking caps because as great as In A Nutshell (formerly Kurzgesagt) is at explaining things in a way that everyone can digest, this one still takes some cerebral acrobatics.

Their latest video delves deep into the world of quantum computers. Computers as we know them rely on transistors — basically switches that allow information flow. Put enough transistors together and you form logic gates; use logic gates in a certain way and you have modern computing. The simplest form of information transistors use “bits” (1’s and 0’s) expressed as “on” or “off.”

We are reaching a physical limit with transistors however. A transistor in a computer today is only about 14 nanometers long — 500 times smaller than a red blood cell. They can’t be produced much smaller than that. Quantum computing would go beyond the physical barriers of traditional computers by using what are called “qubits” (pronounced Q-bit).

QuantumComputer120815

The advantage is that — thanks to what is called “superposition” — a qubit can simultaneously hold multiple positions until it’s observed. By manipulating a qubit’s superpositioning, a computer that uses qubits instead of transistors can make calculations in seconds where it might take a traditional supercomputer hours.

Toward the end of the video, In A Nutshell explains the possible applications for computing on this level that are equal parts scary (banking info vulnerability) and exciting (database improvement), but we’re still far from real-world use. If you’ll excuse me I’ll be re-examining my life as I just classified database improvement as “exciting.”

What do you think of the latest In A Nutshell video? Is your brain melted as much as ours? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: In A Nutshell

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