Photo: © ShutterstockWhen the bizarre world of quantum physics — where a "cat" can be both alive and dead, and particles a galaxy apart are connected — is merged with computer technology, the result is unprecedented power to anyone who masters this technology first.
There is an obvious dark side. Imagine a world where online bank accounts could be easily hacked into and robbed. But this power can also be turned to good, allowing new drugs to be designed with unprecedented speed to cure disease. To prepare for such a future, many countries are investing billions to unlock the potential of what is called quantum computing. With an eye toward the future, a group of researchers at Fermilab,a particle physics laboratory in Batavia, Ill., has worked with high-school teachers to develop a program to train their students in this emerging field.
This program, called "Quantum Computing as a High School Module," was developed in collaboration with young students in mind. But it's also a perfect diversion for science enthusiasts of any age who suddenly have a lot of time on their hands.
This online training course introduces students to quantum concepts, including superposition, qubits, encryption, and many others...
In 1994, Peter Shor invented an algorithm that revealed the power of quantum computing. His algorithm would allow quantum computers to factorize a number enormously faster than any classically known algorithm. Factorizing numbers is important because the encryption system used by computers to communicate securely relies on the mathematics of prime numbers. Prime numbers are numbers that are divisible only by one and themselves.