Read More: Science Alert
It's possible that our own human brains are capable of performing advanced quantum computing calculations - and now scientists are conducting a series of detailed experiments to try and find out for sure. It's easy to think of computers and brains as similar – both process information, and make decisions, and deal with inputs and outputs. But some scientists think the incredible complexity of the brain can only be explained by quantum mechanics. In other words, phenomena like quantum entanglement and superposition, all the knotty stuff of quantum physics, are actually regular occurrences inside our brains. Not everyone is so sure, but we might be about to get an answer either way. "If the question of whether quantum processes take place in the brain is answered in the affirmative, it could revolutionise our understanding and treatment of brain function and human cognition," says one of the team involved in running these tests, Matt Helgeson from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). If you're new to the world of quantum computing, it builds on the ideas of quantum mechanics – ways of explaining the Universe at the smallest atomic scales, when the rules of classical physics no longer appear to fit. The most crucial part of quantum computing you need to understand is the way that the regular bits or on/off switches of classical computers – all those 1s and 0s that store data – get replaced by qubits.