The Reality of Quantum Computing: What Can We Really Do with Qubits?


“As someone who is completely new to the concept of Quantum Computing (QC), I’m curious about its practical applications in the present day. Amidst the significant buzz surrounding QC’s potential impact on fields like cryptography and optimization problems, I’m aware that much of this might still be theoretical and perhaps amplified by mainstream media. Could you shed light on the tangible computations that a powerful quantum computer can perform today? For instance, are simple tasks such as multiplying two numbers—say, \( 74387 \times 36234 \)—within the realm of current QC capabilities? Furthermore, is it possible to create a basic calculator using QC, and what are the limitations for executing everyday algorithms on such a machine?”


Quantum computers today are capable of performing certain computations that are impractical for classical computers. This includes simulating molecular structures, optimizing traffic flow, and improving cancer treatment strategies. In materials science, quantum computers can simulate molecular structures at the atomic scale, which can lead to discoveries in new materials for batteries, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers.

Simple Calculations:

Regarding simple calculations like multiplying two numbers, quantum computers are theoretically capable of performing such tasks. However, the current state of quantum technology is more focused on solving specific types of problems that are not efficiently solvable by classical computers. Multiplying numbers like \( 74387 \times 36234 \) is a task that classical computers can handle efficiently, so it’s not a priority for QC development.

Quantum Calculators:

Building a basic calculator with a quantum computer is possible in theory, but it would be an overkill for such a simple task. Quantum computers excel at handling operations that involve a large number of variables and states simultaneously, thanks to the phenomenon of superposition. For everyday algorithms and calculations, classical computers are more suitable and cost-effective.


The limitations of quantum computing for everyday algorithms stem from the technology’s nascent stage. Quantum computers require extremely controlled environments to operate, as qubits are highly susceptible to interference. Additionally, the programming models for quantum computers are different from classical computing, and the algorithms need to be specifically designed to take advantage of quantum mechanics.


In conclusion, while quantum computers hold immense potential, their current applications are specialized and not aimed at replacing classical computers for everyday tasks. The focus is on leveraging their unique capabilities to solve complex problems that are currently intractable or would take an impractical amount of time with classical computing. As the technology matures, we can expect to see more practical applications that could include more ‘normal’ computations.

For more detailed information on quantum computing applications, you can refer to the resources provided..

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