Recently in Australia, the Center for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology announced that their silicon microchip that uses two quantum bits works. Proving that silicon works in quantum based computing gives it the possibility to be not only possible but practical, not being all to much bigger than a regular processor.
Although the current state of quantum technologies is less than useful, being far to expensive and fragile for commercial use, it would make supercomputers, such as the USA’s Titan, faster than ever before. Although computers like the Titan are already insanely fast, thousands of processor could not even come close to a quantum processor. A linear computer, such as your phone or laptop, uses bits, information that can either be a one or a zero, but a quantum computer uses qubits, which can be a one, a zero and any combination of the two. This special values, called superpositions, allow a computer to preform thousands of calculations in seconds.
Quantum computing also allows a completely new principle unheard of in linear computing, quantum entanglement, this means that two subatomic particles, such as electrons are connected even though they may have never even been near the other particle. It allows instantaneous data exchange between particles, if one qubit is in the one position, it can force the other particle to be a zero, or some other state. In a regular computer, bits are changed between states by the processor, but with quantum technology, qubits themselves can be a processor, changing states of other qubits and being changed by other qubits.
Although this technology is still years from being practical for phones and personal computers, for commercial uses it could mean incredible things. One possibility is for nuclear tests, rather than actually detonating a nuclear bomb, a simple simulation could predict thousands of possible outcomes of the detonation, even the slightest movement of a single particle could be predicted down to the nanometer.
These technologies don’t really mean much for any random consumer, but it would change things tremendously in big business and politics, opening up a brand new avenue for completion between companies and countries. With the possible benefits of quantum computing, most everywhere people will be trying to get closer to a perfect quantum computer, undoubtedly increasing economic health worldwide.