A quantum computer employs the principles of quantum mechanics to store information in ‘qubits’ instead of the typical ‘bits’ of 1 and 0. Just as a bit is the basic unit of information in a classical computer, a qubit is the basic unit of information in a quantum computer. It takes advantage of the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time. They can do intensive number-crunching tasks much more efficiently than the fastest comparable computers.
The prospect of using quantum computers to model complicated chemical reactions, a task that conventional supercomputers is not good at. For instance, to sort a billion numbers, a quantum computer would require 3.5 million fewer steps than a traditional machine, and would find the solution in only 31,623 steps.