Today's computers rely on electrons to deliver information in binary bits, or yes/no, 1/0, on/off.
Laws of quantum physics allow bits to be in multiple states
simultaneously so it has the potential to be millions of times
more powerful than today's most powerful supercomputers.
Quantum bits, or Qubits are more versatile than standard bits
because they can exist in three states instead of two. Current
computers represent things as a one or zero, but a quantum
computer can render a qubit as representing a one, a zero, or
every fraction between one and zero at the same time.
An interesting thing about qubits is that by just looking at one,
it changes its state, so scientists had to devise a way to look
without the qubit knowing it was being looked at. (Long story,
A 30-qubit quantum computer is approximately as powerful as a 10
teraflop computer. It can solve 10 trillion floating
point operations every second vs. an average computer, which
performs about seven gigaflops (seven billion) per second. Quantum
computers process multiple calculations at once vs. current
computers, which process one at a time.
Google and NASA have a 512-qubit quantum computer housed in a 10
foot black cabinet, but do not expect to buy one for your home in
the near future. The NASA Ames machine may be upgraded to a 2,048
qubit chip in the next year or two. There are 25.4 million
nanometers in one inch and fingernails grow one nanometer every