Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Scientists at Microsoft and their partners around the world have spent the last decade

  • exploring the exciting and utterly bizarre place where computer science and quantum physics

  • collide. So where's that, exactly?

  • Think about quantum computing like a subway map with two train lines--the Quantum Physics

  • Local and the Computer Science Express--coming from different directions to meet at a central

  • hub: Station Q. On the map, the two lines meet and continue

  • forward together, though no one knows exactly where they're headed.

  • Thanks to brilliant minds from Newton to Einstein, we have a pretty solid understanding of matter,

  • motion, time, space, and how the universe generally functions. But over the last hundred

  • or so years, scientists looking closely at life on an atomic and sub-atomic level started

  • noticing some inconsistencies with traditional physics. Questions and theories started piling

  • up about how and why particles seem to behave predictably on a large scale (like plants

  • and birds and rocks and things), but on a nanoscale it's, well, particles gone wild.

  • It turns out that behaviors that seem impossible to imagine on a human scale are downright

  • pedestrian at a molecular level. Down there, particles - little balls of solid matter - act

  • like waves. Particles teleport from one place to another, and can also become "entangled,"

  • making it impossible to separate them. In a quantum state, particles can even achieve

  • something we call superposition, where they exist in multiple states simultaneously.

  • You've ridden this line many times before. You know that the laptop on your desk, the

  • smartphone in your hand, and the tablet in your bag all work with information in the

  • form of bits. Bits, which can be either a 1 or a 0, are arranged in long, artful strings

  • to get computers to do all sorts of things, like sequence DNA or fling angry little birds

  • at pig-built fortresses. But classical computers have limits to their

  • problem-solving prowess. There are some problems so difficult that even if all the computers

  • in the world worked on the problem in tandem it would still take them a very long time

  • to solve it. So here's where things REALLY get interesting

  • and where quantum computing could come in handy. Quantum computers run on quantum bits,

  • or qubits. Because of the mind-bending properties of a quantum state, like superposition, a

  • qubit can be a 1 or a 0 - or it can exist as a 1 and a 0 at the same time. If one qubit,

  • as a 1 and a 0, can do two calculations, then two qubits can do four, four can do eight,

  • and the computing power has the potential to grow exponentially.

  • With long strings of qubits performing computations, problems that would take today's computers

  • eons to solve could be tackled in the time it takes to grab a cup of coffee.

  • This could have wildest imagination-type applications in fields such as machine learning and medicine,

  • chemistry and cryptography, materials science and engineering. And could allow humans to

  • understand and control the very building blocks of the universe.

Scientists at Microsoft and their partners around the world have spent the last decade

Subtitles and vocabulary

Click the word to look it up Click the word to find further inforamtion about it