Terrill L. Frantz, Ph.D., Ed.D., Associate Professor at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is happy to discuss this with you.  He is Program Lead for the Quantum Information Science Program He is at  [email protected] or 717-678-1474 (CELL).

This announcement reflects an important and historic accomplishment in computer science, physics, and engineering. For the very first time, an actual quantum-based computer has accomplished a computational task that is impossible for classical computers; a task that would take 10.000 years for a powerful commercial computer to accomplish.  Be at ease, however, quantum computers will not replace your laptop, phone, or your neighborhood supercomputer in our lifetime.

Quantum computers are not for the average person to use, but society will benefit immensely from this new-found ability to compute massively complex computations in a reasonable amount of time. Our lives will change in the future in multiple ways.  The price of some commodities will decrease (fertilizer, for example), because be can improve the chemical structure of fertilizers by simulating the chemical processes in a quantum computer -- a task unavailable today at the fidelity needed.  New drugs will be able to be designed to solve specific and complex human diseases because we will be able to run quantum computer-based simulations in minutes rather than taking years for laboratory experiments.  Many expect that global-level and local-level weather forecasting will immensely improve in accuracy and the length of time meaningful forecasts can be estimated.

There are many overlaps between what is shown on SciFi movies and what quantum computers might be able to do, which may prove to be not fiction but the reality in coming generations. Today's announcement is not about reaching the end-line for using quantum computers, but the announcement is more like the starting gun for a race that will last centuries, not years.