Physicists had long nurtured the ambition to build a quantum computer. In the early 1980s, one of the most famous among them, Richard Feynman (1918 –1988), questioned whether it would ever be possible to efficiently compute and simulate quantum physics phenomena using a conventional computer. He argued that digital computers couldn’t compute fast enough to calculate and simulate the quantum effects that typically occur within atoms and molecules and between elementary particles – at least not within a reasonable period of time.
Initially, he proposed building a quantum computer based not on digital coding but rather on a direct imitation of quantum systems. His core idea, which continues to inspire the development of quantum computers to this day, was that certain properties of quantum mechanics could be harnessed for computation. Specifically, this would mean taking advantage of two quantum states of particles: superposition and entanglement.
Source: “Computer scientists take on the quantum challenge”, Zurich ETH News