A bit (short for binary digit) is the smallest unit of data in a computer. A bit has a single binary value, either 0 or 1. Although computers usually provide instructions that can test and manipulate bits, they generally are designed to store data and execute instructions in bit multiples called bytes.
In quantum computing, a qubit (/ˈkjuːbɪt/) or quantum bit (sometimes qbit) is a unit of quantum information—the quantum analogue of the classical bit. A qubit is a two-state quantum-mechanical system, such as the polarization of a single photon: here the two states are vertical polarization and horizontal polarization.
Over the past decade, its extremely profitable core business—selling software for desktop computers and corporate servers—has appeared to be increasingly vulnerable to creative destruction. This weekend we look back at stories that crystallize the company’s problem and how it’s been responding.