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Quantum computing explained

Quantum computing has potential to revolutionize the way problems are solved. It is an emerging technology that uses quantum mechanics to improve the ability to solve problems at a much faster rate than conventional computers and does so using far less energy. Conventional computers store information using bits represented by zeroes or ones. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or “qubits,” to encode information as zeroes, ones or both at the same time. This allows for much faster computational time.

Quantum computers are not intended to replace classical computers. They are a different tool that is used to solve certain complex problems that are beyond the capabilities of a classical computer.

There is work being done in quantum computing at Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. In addition, there are several companies in B.C. that are commercially active in quantum computing, such as D-Wave, 1Qbit, Fujitsu, IBM and Microsoft. The technology is largely still pre-commercial. B.C. is working to be the jurisdiction that helps advance quantum computing from research through to “transformative” technology. 

The work done at the Quantum Algorithm Institute will involve algorithm development. Algorithms are essentially calculations that are used by computers and software to solve problems or manage work flows. Algorithm development involves developing, testing and applying algorithms.