Sub Total
Excluding delivery and voucher code discounts.
Go to basket

Free Delivery on all orders to UK mainland within 3 working days.


Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
What is Quantum Computing

What is Quantum Computing?

Zach Cabading
In this day and age, it’s easy to think that the great days of scientific innovation are behind us. We’ve landed on the moon, we’ve created the modern digital computer, we’ve created smartphones. But there are plenty of exciting technologies that are still in their infancy. One of them is the quantum computer.
You might have heard “quantum computer” mentioned here and there, or maybe just the word, “quantum.” What exactly is a quantum computer? How does it work, and what are the applications?
Let’s answer your questions about this exciting new field of research.

It’s all about atoms

What does “quantum” mean? In this case, quantum refers to the world of atoms and subatomic particles. Quantum computing attempts to make calculations that simulate the ways in which subatomic particles interact with one another.
There’s no doubt about it: this is a very complicated field of research and you have to know quite a bit about quantum physics and computer engineering to fully wrap your head around it. But the basics of quantum computing are relatively easy to grasp.
How does the subatomic world work? It all starts with the atom. Atoms are the building blocks of the universe, the smallest known units of matter. The strange thing about atoms is that they don’t seem to obey the same laws that govern physics at the human scale. The subatomic world seems to have its own set of laws by which it abides.
There are two important subatomic laws that you need to know in order to understand quantum computing.


Warning: this might blow your mind.
A single atom has the ability to be in two different places at one time.
Breath. Take a moment to let that sink in.
It’s true, though. One atom can be in two places simultaneously, a quality known as “superposition.” This has been observed in many different quantum experiments. Physicists have directed electromagnetic waves at atoms, and have observed superposition in effect.
But, wait! If an atom can be in two places at once, why aren’t human beings in two places at once?
Nobody knows. And another strange thing is that we can’t actually observe the atoms being in the same place at once. We have evidence of atoms being in superposition, but when we observe the particles, we can only ever locate the atom being in one place or the other [1].


Entanglement is another bizarre phenomenon of the subatomic world. Entanglement is when two atoms behave in the exact same way, even when they’re separated by physical space. What happens to one atom will also happen to the other. It’s another strange subatomic interaction that we don’t experience at the human scale. Albert Einstein referred to entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” [2]

How standard computers work

To understand how a quantum computer works, you first need to understand how a standard binary computer works. The components in your computer exchange electric currents. For instance, when you open a saved file, your CPU sends an electric pulse to your hard disk.
The pulse isn’t constant. It flickers, like Morse code. When the current is running, the hard disk registers a 1. When the current is off, the hard disk registers a 0. This binary value of either a 1 or a 0 is called a “bit.”
Think of a bit as a letter. When you string many letters together, they form a word. In the same way, the series of bits form instructions that tell your hard disk to retrieve the file from storage. Binary is the main language of computer systems.
There’s one problem with binary language: it can only process one series of bits at a time. Computers are fast enough to perform most of the calculations that you’ll use in your daily life. But there are many subatomic calculations that require such a massive amount of numbers, that no standard computer has the size or power to perform them.

Quantum computers

The main goal of a quantum computer is to perform computations by using subatomic principles - namely, superposition and entanglement.
While a standard computer uses bits, a quantum computer uses qubits (pronounced “Q-bits”). A qubit is not binary. A qubit can be a 1, or a 0, or both at the same time. It’s exactly like an atom, capable of being two different things simultaneously. A qubit simulates the superposition of atoms that we observe in the subatomic world.
Qubits are advantageous for two reasons. First, you’re able to compress more information into a single unit of data. Second, qubits make it easier for scientists to make calculations that account for superposition. Qubits also can account for entanglement. On a quantum computer, scientists would be able to enter conditions that allow for qubit entanglement.
A quantum computer looks nothing like the computers that occupy our workplace or home office. They look more along the lines of the first modern computers engineered in the 1940s. They have to be that large if they’re going to perform calculations on a quantum scale.

How can quantum computing benefit us?

Quantum computers can help us create more powerful encryption methods so we can better protect our personal information. Qubits can hold far more information than bits can, and so they’re a better data unit to be used for creating complicated encryption algorithms. Quantum computers could tremendously improve cybersecurity.
Quantum simulation may be the most important benefit of quantum computers. Because they can simulate quantum physics, researchers may be able to perform a greater variety of experiments involving the subatomic world. Chemists may be able to use quantum computers to simulate chemical reactions, which may help them create new medicines [3].

Do quantum computers already exist and can I use one?

Quantum computers do exist, but the technology is in its infancy. Currently, quantum computers have few useful functions because there are still aspects of the technology that have not been developed. Computer engineers and mathematicians are hard at work making advancements in the field so that quantum computers in the future will be as revolutionary as we dream they’ll be. But don’t expect to be bringing one home from the electronics store any time soon.
However, you can play an online game on a quantum computer! Check out this simple quantum computer game. Hopefully, it’ll hold you over until the technology matures.
[2]; Entanglement Made Simple
About the Author: Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

More about these products

Prices, specifications, availability and terms of offers may change without notice. Price protection, price matching or price guarantees do not apply to Intra-day, Daily Deals or limited-time promotions. Quantity limits may apply to orders, including orders for discounted and promotional items. Despite our best efforts, a small number of items may contain pricing, typography, or photography errors. Correct prices and promotions are validated at the time your order is placed. These terms apply only to products sold by; reseller offers may vary. Items sold by are not for immediate resale. Orders that do not comply with terms, conditions, and limitations may be cancelled. Contract and volume customers not eligible.

HP’s MSRP is subject to discount. HP’s MSRP price is shown as either a stand-alone price or as a strike-through price with a discounted or promotional price also listed. Discounted or promotional pricing is indicated by the presence of an additional higher MSRP strike-through price

The following applies to HP systems with Intel 6th Gen and other future-generation processors on systems shipping with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Pro systems downgraded to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1: This version of Windows running with the processor or chipsets used in this system has limited support from Microsoft. For more information about Microsoft’s support, please see Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle FAQ at

Ultrabook, Celeron, Celeron Inside, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Logo, Intel Atom, Intel Atom Inside, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel Inside Logo, Intel vPro, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, vPro Inside, Xeon, Xeon Phi, Xeon Inside, and Intel Optane are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

In-home warranty is available only on select customizable HP desktop PCs. Need for in-home service is determined by HP support representative. Customer may be required to run system self-test programs or correct reported faults by following advice given over phone. On-site services provided only if issue can't be corrected remotely. Service not available holidays and weekends.

HP will transfer your name and address information, IP address, products ordered and associated costs and other personal information related to processing your application to Bill Me Later®. Bill Me Later will use that data under its privacy policy.

Microsoft Windows 10: Not all features are available in all editions or versions of Windows 10. Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware, drivers, software or BIOS update to take full advantage of Windows 10 functionality. Windows 10 is automatically updated, which is always enabled. ISP fees may apply and additional requirements may apply over time for updates. See

“Best All In One Printer” and “the easiest printer you’ve ever had to set up” from Wirecutter. ©2020 The Wirecutter, Inc.. All rights reserved. Used under license.

Get Marvel’s Avengers when you purchase HP gaming PCs with qualifying 9th gen or 10th gen Intel® Core™ i5, i7 and i9 processors. Redemption code will be sent out by email within 60 days of purchase. Limited quantities and while supply lasts. Offer valid thru 12/31/2020 only while supplies last. We reserve the right to replace titles in the offer for ones of equal or greater value. Certain titles may not be available to all consumers because of age restrictions. The Offer may be changed, cancelled, or suspended at any time, for any reason, without notice, at Intel’s reasonable discretion if its fairness or integrity affected whether due to human or technical error. The Offer sponsor is Intel Corporation, 2200 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA. To participate you must create an Intel Digital Hub Account, purchase a qualifying product during the redemption period, enter a valid Master Key, and respond to a brief survey. Information you submit is collected, stored, processed, and used on servers in the USA. For more information on offer details, eligibility, restrictions, and our privacy policy, visit

© 2020 MARVEL. © Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

The personal information you provide will be used according to the HP Privacy Statement (