The happy Spring Festival holiday is over in a blink of an eye. I wonder if you have watched the very popular movie “The Wandering Earth 2” during the holiday? If you watch it, you must be impressed by the various technological equipment displayed in the movie. From the magnificent space elevator to the 550W quantum computer that can control tens of thousands of planetary engines around the world, it is amazing.

Among them, the quantum computer 550 series has so many roles that it is even comparable to the protagonist in the movie. It appears in almost all key places and plots. In the movie, it is called the key to the successful implementation of the Wandering Earth Project.

If you have watched the easter eggs at the end of the film, you will also find that the quantum computer code-named 550W may be the biggest villain in the entire Wandering Earth series of movies. From the cornerstone of the human escape plan to the biggest villain behind the scenes (possibly), quantum computers really are Is it as powerful as described in the movie? To what extent has the quantum computer developed in reality?

Advertisement

**What exactly is a quantum computer?**

What is a quantum computer? Simply put, a quantum computer is a device that performs general-purpose calculations using quantum logic, which is fundamentally different from traditional computers.**At present, traditional computers basically follow binary (in the early electronic tube period, there were also decimal and other equipment, and later it was basically binary), and its state is only 0 and 1, but the quantum computer is different. In short, it has 0, 1, 2 three state.**

Friends who have a little understanding of the history of computer development may start to complain at this time. Isn’t 0, 1, and 2 a ternary computer? It should be noted that the ternary 0, 1, and 2 are just a calculation method that represents the three-in-one, not the state.

Or it will be better understood in this way. In the binary system, 0 is off, 1 is on, and there are only two states: on and off.**In a quantum computer system, 0 is off, 1 is on, and 2 is uncertain (refer to Schrödinger’s cat). In quantum mechanics, the state of “2” is generally called a superposition state, and “2” does not Represents a certain state, but the superposition of n states.**

Therefore, during the operation of the quantum computer, the existence of “2” allows the quantum computer to be in n states at the same time. For example, if we assume that there is a traditional computer with four bits, this computer can only get one state per second, that is, 0000 or 0101, then it takes 16 seconds to get all the states.

At this time we also have a quantum computer with four qubits, which can simultaneously calculate all permutations and combinations from 0000 to 1111, which means that it only takes 1 second for a quantum computer to output 16 states, which is equivalent to 16 traditional The efficiency with which computers operate simultaneously.

16 times, doesn’t seem like much? What about increasing the number of bits to 5? The answer is 32 times, what about 6 bits?64, times.**As the number of bits increases, the performance gap between a quantum computer and a classical computer grows exponentially**Friends who know a little about mathematics should be able to realize the horror, so the actual speed of quantum computers can reach a height beyond the reach of traditional computers.

Moreover, quantum computers also have a magical feature-quantum entanglement state, which can ignore time and space and make two quantums that are infinitely far away instantly synchronize. To put it simply, if there are two quanta in an entangled state, one is in China and the other is on the moon, the person in China turns the quantum on his hand in a circle (metaphorically) and at the same time turns on the laser light to shine on the moon. Before the laser light reaches the moon, the quantum on the moon has already rotated synchronously.

Quantum entanglement transcends time and space, making it one of the feasible conjectures for concepts such as space-time travel in science fiction works.**In quantum computers, scientists can use this feature to allow quantum computers to perform multiple sets of different operations at the same time, and finally collapse to the result with the highest probability through observation, which is the “correct answer”.**

It can be said that in the face of quantum computers, the encryption system currently used by humans is useless. A person with a strong quantum computer can theoretically enter and exit the online financial systems of various countries at will, and arbitrarily modify the amount on the account. Of course, this is the most boring application. If 550W can be produced in reality, we can even simulate the whole world from the atomic level.

**How far are we from “MOSS”?**

In “The Wandering Earth 2”, MOSS is an artificial intelligence equipped with the latest quantum computer 550W. The power of 550W has many performances in the movie. For example, it can control tens of thousands of planetary engines around the world at the same time, and there is still room for the construction and maintenance of planetary engines. It can even simulate digital life and extend its life to 70 years (2 minutes in 550C).

The performance of a quantum computer depends on the number of built-in qubits, and the specific performance index is “quantum volume”, a special unit proposed by IBM. The 550W quantum volume in the movie is 8192, and the strongest quantum computer disclosed in the IBM news has a quantum volume of 128, which is a difference of 64 times.

However, the screenwriter seems to have made a small mistake here. In fact, we have a quantum computer with a quantum volume of more than 8,000. In theory, in an ion trap quantum computer, only 13 qubits are needed to obtain a computer with the same quantum volume.

**Netizens who have researched related fields said that more than 8,000 perfect logical qubits are needed to achieve a computing power of 550W in the chip. So what is the highest quantum computer we have now?433 qubits, manufactured by IBM, are more than 20 times away from the 550W in the movie.**

Moreover, as the number of qubits increases, the difficulty of research and development will also soar. To achieve the same computing power of 550W, we still have a long way to go. The computing power is only the first step to manufacture 550W. If you want to reproduce “MOSS” in reality, there is no hope yet.

why? I don’t know if you still remember a bridge in the movie, the drone control system of the space elevator is out of control, the final solution is to connect the 550C to the main computer of the control center, and directly generate a new operating system to overwrite the old system.

Advertisement

At the point in time when this plot bridge happened, quantum computers were still strategic equipment, and were only used in a few extremely important projects, so what the unmanned control center used was actually a traditional computer. Without additional operations, the 550C has independently completed the compilation and transcoding between the two computer systems, and at the same time self-compiled a new system bottom layer in a very short time.

Moreover, the 550 series of quantum computers can be used in almost all scenarios that require computing power, which means that the 550 series is a universal quantum computer. In the actual research and development of quantum computers, a universal quantum computer still exists like a castle in the sky, which is within reach. .

us**The current quantum computer itself has great limitations. Only in special operations can it perform far beyond the performance of traditional computers, such as parallel computing and other scenarios.**Moreover, in order for the quantum computer to operate in the predetermined form, technicians also need to set it up in advance.

To put it simply, our current quantum computers are specialized devices that can only operate normally in specific fields. If we let them work in non-specific fields, their performance will not even be as good as traditional computers. It can be said that the ultimate dream of quantum computer research and development is to build a universal quantum computer. By then, everything that needs a computer will be strengthened like never before.

In the imagination of some researchers, a mature general-purpose quantum computer can simulate a person or even a planet at the atomic level, and use quantum properties to calculate the future of this person, which is the “future prediction” in science fiction. It may sound whimsical, but it is not impossible in quantum mechanics, and it is also expressed in movies, such as the digital life map Yaya, and in the end-credits egg, MOSS predicts the Jupiter crisis that will happen decades later .

The distance between us and the quantum computer in the movie can be borrowed from a metaphor from a netizen:**“Probably equivalent to the difference between drilling wood and making fire to an i9 processor”**unless there is a new scientific Big Bang, it is impossible for our generation to see it.

However, perhaps there is no need to be pessimistic. In the current quantum computer plans of various countries, quantum computers with thousands of bits will be launched on the market around 2023-2025. With the popularization of quantum computers, infrastructure such as computing centers will receive considerable benefits. Performance improvements, and the ensuing changes, may revolutionize our society.