Will Quantum Computing Have A Positive Effect


The Essay

It addresses the question: Will Quantum Computing make the world a better place?

The essay consists of at least 1500 words (less will not be marked). This word count is for the essay itself only, without the list of references at the end.

It is persuasive. It is based on logical reasoning and credible evidence. In particular, the following marking components are used:

Addresses question: The assignment question has been clearly identified and the document presents a clear and well-considered answer.

Presentation: Presentation is very effective and presented in a logical format with a clear beginning, middle, and end. There is a clear statement of ideas and smooth transitions.

Content: The main idea is clearly conveyed in a presentation that is highly relevant and interesting. The student provides evidence of thoughtful input. Details are rich and appropriate.

Support: Excellent use of references to support argument.

Language: Grammatical functions are used correctly with very few errors. Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are also virtually always correct.

Bibliography: Bibliography is correctly formatted and contains all relevant details.

The essay is your own. All submissions will need to be submitted through TurnItIn.

It includes references to the works you cite or mention. This list does not contribute to the word count

The Process (suggested)

Develop an answer to the question.

There is no ‘correct’ answer. Good essays can either answer the question positively or negatively. You are free to develop an answer; it does not need to be black or white. The main point is that you develop a convincing argument.

Read the assigned readings of week 1 as the Economist report deals with Quantum Computing.

Search for and read articles in newspapers, magazines, books, and academic journals. You are free to source any material, but to be persuasive it is better to rely on credible sources, and on works where evidence is provided. For example, it is better to rely academic journals than on gossip magazines and it is better to rely on studies than on opinion. The the fault came form.

Use library facilities

Discuss, online and offline, about ideas

Use discussion boards

Write your essay

Use simple and correct English

Be clear and concise

Avoid clutter

Make the text flow

Convince the reader

Use Harvard referencing (see attached) or another commonly used referencing style (see here) – but do choose only one style!

Use any number of references (typically, the best essays have about 5 to 10 well-selected references)

Go back to step 1 whenever needed. This is normal.

Go the extra mile: Learn to write by reading books on writing (like Pinker’s “The Sense of Style”)

Review and rewrite (Writing well is all about re-writing)

Review (not rewrite) each other’s writing

Give each other tips

Review yourself (including word count, referencing style)

Check for plagiarism yourself (on Blackboard with TurnItIn). You can resubmit before the deadline; only the last submitted document will be marked.

Submit your assignment

Submit through Blackboard TurnItIn

Deadline: Friday August 2, 2019 @ 5:00pm.

Late submissions will be marked with a penalty unless circumstances are exceptional (like with a doctor’s statement).

Wait for feedback

Receive short feedback and your mark within about 3 weeks.

Your mark will constitute 20% of your final COMP111 mark.

Examples from previous years

In previous years, the essay assignment was identical except that other topics were posed, such as:

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sharing information in the domain of Business, Health, or in general.

Attached are some examples of essays addressing this question.

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.


The most important thing about a technology is how it changes people.

JARON LANIER, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

Technology is, of course, a double edged sword. Fire can cook our food but also burn us.

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/jason_silva_621954?src=t_technology

Albert einstein: “God does not play dice with the universe,” he argued. But, as Hawkings later wrote, God may have “a few tricks up his sleeve.”



Top 1: Brief overview of quantum computing

Topic 2: History of technology

Topic 3: As technology progresses, negative effects e.g human eyesight, increased rates of vitamin D disorders, increased depression, happiness has decreased in the modern world – can this be attributed to increased techology?, disconnect from family and friends, reliance on technology.

Topic 4: social effects of technology: Cultural depiction of the fear of technology : stems from the industrial revolution, “quantum revolution”, compare the two.

Quantum computing may provide companies with the computing power to replace entire sections of their company, to reduce costs


Topic 5: philosophical and :, e.g simulation theory can be accompished through increased computational power.


















Draft 1

Will Quantum Computing make the World a Better Place?

“Nature isn’t classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical.” – Richard Feynman

In 1981, Richard Feynman delivered his presentation “First Conference on the Physics of Computation” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Capturing the attention of attendees with his vision of a quantum computer. In his presentation, he highlights the limitations of classical computers and the need for quantum computers to accurately simulate complex natural phenomena [1]. Feynman’s vision is now a reality. Recently in Jan 2019, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) announced their first quantum computer designed for commercial use: the “IBM Q System One™”. The system is accessible through the publically available “IBM Q Experience”, a cloud-based platform in operation since May of 2016. As of Jan 2019, over 6.7 million successful experiments have been run on the platform [2].  Quantum computers such as the IBM Q System One are still experimental machines. Their many potential effects are unknown, reduced to speculation and theory. As classical computers begin to reach their physical limits, the shift to quantum computers is inevitable and with them come both their constructive and destructive capabilities.

Reaching the limit

Since the 1960s, the power of classical computing has been growing exponentially. In 1965 Gordon Moore noticed this trend and made his famous prediction, Moore’s Law; the number of transistors on microchips will double every year for the next decade. This prediction was revised in 1975 when he set back his law to a doubling of transistors every two years. This markdown in progress has continued into the 21st century with experts claiming the impending end of Moore’s Law [3]. The noticeable markdown in progress can be attributed to components reaching their physical limitations. As transistors, the smallest being 5 nanometers, approach the size of atoms they become subject to the effects of quantum tunnelling.[4][5].  Electrons can escape the transistor through tunnelling and produce heat, damaging the transistor and leading to more leakage. Combine this with the fact that there are billions of transistors on each chip and overheating becomes a severe issue for chip designers [5]. The limits of classical computers have been made clear.

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Classical computers are based on binary digits or bits. Bits are limited to exist in one of two states, 0 or 1. Quantum computers are based on qubits, subatomic particles such as electrons and photons. Qubits also exist in two different identifiable states. For example a photon can have horizontal or vertical polarisation. However because of superposition, a qubit can exist in both quantum states simultaneously until observed or tested [6] . Multiple qubits can exist in all possible combinations of states at once. The number of combinations rises exponentially with the inclusion of a new qubit. Researchers can also induce “entanglement” in two qubits. These entangled qubits are linked to one another regardless of distance. Changing the state of one qubit will predictably change the state of the other entangled qubit. Combining these two phenomenon, quantum computers are able to process vast numbers of calculations simultaneously. Calculations deemed impossible for classical computers will be possible for the quantum computer [7].

Search tasks are one of the most prevalent tasks performed by computers today. Search tasks involve solving a problem through establishing possible solutions and then searching amongst them to find correct solutions, in a systematic or random fashion. Search tasks can be divided into two categories. Structured search tasks, where incorrect possibilities can be ruled out and unstructured search tasks, where incorrect possibilities cannot be ruled out. For a classical computer, an unstructured search task is incredibly complex akin to finding a needle in a haystack [8]. A quantum computer using Grover’s algorithm will be able to solve unstructured search tasks in the square root of the number of steps required using a classical computer.

However, as our mastery and control over quantum mechanics evolve, scientists believe that we are on the verge of a “Second Qu

“James Watt patented his steam engine on the eve of the American Revolution, consummating a relationship between coal and the new Promethean spirit of the age, and humanity made its first tentative steps into an industrial way of life that would, over the next two centuries, forever change the world.” -Jeremy Rifkin (2002).

The success and commercialisation of the steam engine transformed human lives in an unprecedented way. Providing the fuel for the First Industrial Revolution, manufacturing processes were reinvented and provided the basis for modern mechanised factory systems. For the first time in history, both the quality of life for the general population and the GDP of western countries rose consistently. (Feinstein, C., 1998.) .However, the wide-scale adoption of the mechanised factory systems in had massive unforeseen consequences. Mass production provided countries with the ability to sustain massive wars through sheer production power an example was the Somme, “a huge expenditure of lives and munitions, such as the Somme campaign of 1916, did not have the consequence that one combatant or the other had exhausted its supply of trained manpower and accumulated firepower”.(Trevor Wilson & Robin Prior (2001),p145)

Ernest Rutherford once said “The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing.” Less than a decade after his death, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.


  1. Feynman R. Simulating physics with computers. International Journal of Theoretical Physics. 1982;21(6-7):467-488.
  2. BM Unveils World’s First Integrated Quantum Computing System for Commercial Use [Internet]. IBM News Room. 2019 [cited 17 July 2019]. Available from: https://newsroom.ibm.com/2019-01-08-IBM-Unveils-Worlds-First-Integrated-Quantum-Computing-System-for-Commercial-Use
  3. Peper F. The End of Moore’s Law: Opportunities for Natural Computing?. New Generation Computing. 2017;35(3):253-269.
  4. Russel J. TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law? [Internet]. HPCwire. 2019 [cited 18 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.hpcwire.com/2019/06/12/tsmc-and-samsung-moving-to-5nm-whither-moores-law/


  1. Loeffler J. After Moore’s law | Technology Quarterly [Internet]. The Economist. 2019 [cited 18 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.economist.com/technology-quarterly/2016-03-12/after-moores-law
  2. Polak W, Rieffel E. Quantum Computing : A Gentle Introduction. 1st ed. The MIT Press; 2011:9-11
  3. Quantum computing 101 | Institute for Quantum Computing [Internet]. Institute for Quantum Computing. 2019 [cited 19 July 2019]. Available from: https://uwaterloo.ca/institute-for-quantum-computing/quantum-computing-101#Quantum-tech-years-away
  4. Williams C. Explorations in quantum computing. 2nd ed. London: Springer; 2011:241


  • Documents leaked by Edward Snowden confirm the Penetrating Hard Targets project,[176] by which the National Security Agency seeks to develop a quantum computing capability for cryptography purposes.[177][178][179]
  • Feinstein, C., 1998. Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution. The Journal of Economic History, 58(3), 625-658. doi:10.1017/S0022050700021100
  • Trevor Wilson & Robin Prior (2001) Conflict, technology, and the impact of industrialization: The Great War 1914–18, The Journal of Strategic Studies, 24:3, 128-157, DOI:10.1080/01402390108437848
  • https://interestingengineering.com/thomas-midgley-jr-the-man-who-harmed-the-world-the-most



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