A regular person’s guide to hybrid quantum computing

Stephen Hawking once recommended Albert Einstein’s assertion that “God does not play dice” with the universe was wrong. In Hawking’s view, the discovery of black hole physics confirmed that not only did God play dice, “but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.”

Are we here by chance or design?

A more pragmatic approach to the question, considering the subject matter, would be to assume that all answers are correct. In fact, that’s the basis of quantum physics.

Here’s the simplest explanation of how it all works that you’ll ever read: imagine flipping a coin and then walking away secure in the knowledge that it landed on heads or tails.

If we look at the entire universe and start zooming in until you get down to the tiniest particles, you’ll see the exact same effect in their interactions. They’re either going to do one thing or another. And, until you observe them, that potential remains.

With all that potential out there in the universe just waiting to be observed, we’re able to build quantum computers.

However, like all things quantum, there’s a duality involved in harnessing God’s dice for our own human needs. For every mind-blowing feat of quantum engineering we come up with — just wait until you read about laser tweezers and time crystals — we need some grounded technology to control it.

In reality, there’s no such thing as a “purely-quantum computer” and there probably never will be. They’re all hybrid quantum-classical systems in one way or another.

Quantum computing