Amazon's New Quantum Computer Design Relies On Tiny Schrödinger's Cats
Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment in which a quantum event suspends a cat in a box in a nebulous state between life and death: the cat only definitely becomes alive or dead when someone looks in the box. Now Amazon has unveiled a new theoretical blueprint for a quantum computer based on combining hardware versions of lots of Schrödinger’s cats.
Classical computers switch transistors either on or off to symbolize data as ones or zeroes, while quantum computers use quantum bits—qubits—that, because of the surreal nature of quantum physics, can exist in a state of superposition where they are both 1 and 0 at the same time. This essentially lets each qubit perform two calculations simultaneously.
If two qubits are quantum-mechanically linked, or entangled, they can help perform 2^2 or four calculations simultaneously; three qubits, 2^3 or eight calculations; and so on. In theory, a quantum computer with 300 qubits could perform more calculations in an instant than there are atoms in the visible universe.