a-z tech jargon
Technology Planning and Analysis

The real meaning of… Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing has taken a huge leap in recent years. Well, huge isn’t the word for the size of the advance. It doesn’t really do the scale of the leap justice. I can’t say paradigm shift, because that’s such a ridiculously over used word it has been rendered meaningless. These days everything is described as a paradigm shift, whether your business is selling Intellectual Property or proper tea: “Lapsang Souchon is a paradigm shift away from PG Tips”. 

So how do we describe the difference made by a machine whose thinking capacity is driven by quantum particles rather than limited by plain old binary digits? The Quantum way of processing information isn’t confined to seeing things in ones and zeros. It doesn’t see things in black and white, but in a full range of colours (if you’ll pardon my metaphor). It’s got a much bigger range of logic grade weapons in its locker. It has a fuller spectrum. That means it can do all kinds of thinking, running these thoughts in parallel, and putting a wider context on them. 

It’s almost like a wave of alternative pathways, whereas boring old binary computing has to be content with a choice between one or the other. That lack of speed and sophistication suggests a scandalous lack of options. Under the time honoured journalistic naming scheme for scandals, this exposure would be called LogicGate. Yes, the LogicGate crisis has rocked the world of computing and digital IT has been exposed as a hollow sham. By contrast, computations based on spectrums of particles - wave forms if you like - are much more sophisticated. So wave-based computing - or analogue - is many, many times more effective than digital. Call me old fashioned, but I bloody knew it all along. 

If only there was a word that truly captured the extent of this advance. I’d call it a Quantum Leap, but that’s another phrase that’s been done to death and rendered meaningless.

The IT industry has made some wonderful technical advances. But look at the damage its done to the language. 


Also read

The real meaning of… ‘As A Service’
The real meaning of… Bitcoin
The real meaning of… ChatBots
The real meaning of Disruptive Technology
The real meaning of… the e-prefix
The real meaning of… Futurology
The real meaning of…3G and 4G
The real meaning of… Hard-wired
The real meaning of... Information Age - interruptive technology
The real meaning of… Jabber
The real meaning of…. Killer apps, Kyoto, Keyword stuffing and Knowledge
The real meaning of… Legacies and Leverage, Leadership and Language
The real meaning of… Mobile, Machines and the Malware Man-in-the-Middle
The real meaning of… NAND
The real meaning of… Open Source




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Nick Booth

Nick Booth worked in IT in the UK’s National Health Service, financial services and The Met Police, witnessing at first hand the disruptive effects of new technology. As a journalist and analyst, his mission is to stop history repeating itself.

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