Chapter 1 Introducing Quantum Computing
This chapter covers:
- Why people are excited about quantum computing,
- What a quantum computer is,
- What a quantum computer is and is not capable of, and
- How a quantum computer relates to classical programming.
Quantum computing has been an increasingly popular research field and source of hype over the last few years. There seem to be news articles daily discussing new breakthroughs and developments in quantum computing research, promising that we can solve any number of different problems faster and with lower energy costs. Quantum computing can make an impact across society, making it an exciting time to get involved and learn how to program quantum computers and apply quantum resources to solve problems that matter.
In all of the buzz about the advantages quantum computing offers, however, it is easy to lose sight of the real scope of the advantages. We have some interesting historical precedent for what can happen when promises about a technology outpace reality. In the 1970s, machine learning and artificial intelligence suffered from dramatically reduced funding, as the hype and excitement around AI outstripped its results; this would later be called the "AI winter." Similarly, Internet companies faced the same danger trying to overcome the dot-com bust.