The everyday human experience follows a predictable logic: A ball dropped from the roof falls down to the ground; a ripple in a pond flows out from the center; if you leave your phone on your desk, you’re not going to find it in the bathroom. Quantum physics follows no such logic. Elementary particles like electrons can be in two places at once, and knowing where they are at any given time is impossible.

These properties make the quantum world hard to understand, but they also offer the opportunity for new types of math, logic, and, ultimately, computers. Quantum computing holds enormous potential to revolutionize industries like cryptography, drug design, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and logistics.

The quantum computers of the future may be able to analyze data sets that would’ve taken thousands of years using today’s best supercomputers in just an hour or two. But building one with that level of sophistication is no easy task. Fortunately, scientists like Michelle Simmons are not averse to challenges.

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