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Will Quantum Computing Breakthroughs Revolutionize Storage Devices?

Although the field of quantum computing is still in its infancy, some of the most prolific experts in the IT industry have already deemed it as “unreliable.” While this may have been true in some of the earliest prototypes involving quantum computers, the rapidly advancing pace of technology is changing some minds. Now it seems that it’s only a matter of time before quantum computing hits the mainstream.

What Is Quantum Computing?

In its simplest terms, quantum computing uses highly advanced computers to process and analyze data based on concepts like superposition and entanglement. Quantum computers vary from standard computers of today, which are increasingly being referred to as classic computers, by using quantum bits as opposed to electronic transistors and binary digits, or bits.

The result, in theory, is a computer that is able to solve complex problems faster than any device currently known to man. Proponents of quantum computing have even suggested that the technology could be used in cryptography, but any application in this field is years, if not decades, away. The brunt of current research into quantum computing involves the industries of chemistry and nanotechnology, where quantum computing can be used to launch highly advanced simulations and analyses.

Roadblocks to Large-Scale Adoption

While quantum computing is showing tremendous potential, there are some roadblocks in its path to mainstream recognition. For one, there has yet to be a large-scale quantum computer that is capable of solving problems quicker than the current generation of computers. Quantum decoherence, which basically describes data loss on a quantum level, also poses serious threats to the validity of quantum computing.

But researchers and scientists are constantly looking for new and improved methods to provide cooling for the quantum circuits that make up the supercomputers of the future. One team of researchers recently built a custom-designed refrigerator unit that is meant to regulate the temperature of quantum bits, or qubits, that process and transfer data inside a quantum computer. This solution helps with the problem of decoherence, but the qubits do require periodic cooling cycles to prevent heat retention.

It’s a problem that likely won’t be addressed for a decade or more. However, the research team behind the refrigerator is confident that their invention will be a useful asset to the field of quantum computing in the near future.

New Potential from Unexpected Sources

The increased interest in DNA-based storage, which is currently being explored by Microsoft, Amazon and numerous independent researchers, has the potential to jumpstart quantum computing. Other innovations that could play a role in the evolution and eventual mainstream success of quantum computers include crystal-based storage and holographic storage; both of which are already seeing research of their own.

Quantum Computing and Data Storage

Despite the critics, quantum computing certainly has the potential to revolutionize the future of data storage. Whether this is achieved through qubits, DNA, crystals or some other form of media, it’s safe to say that future is already upon us.

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