Quantum mechanics arose out of the question "Is light a particle or a wave?" and has laid forth a model of reality in which particles are modeled by wave functions. The particle is in a superposition of states and can be entangled with other particles to create more complex systems. Observation of the system collapses the wave function to a single point. By using quantum gates, we can manipulate these particles to create algorithms to solve computational problems. Quantum computing does not collapse the complexity hierarchy by providing an across the board exponential speedup but can provide such a speedup for certain problems using algorithms that are specifically tailored to the nature of the problem, most notable Shor’s algorithm for integer factorization.

Presented at the National Collegiate Research Conference at Harvard University, January 2023.