If you've read or listened to Everyday Einstein's episode on quantum computing, you probably find yourself left with more questions than answers. You're not alone. Quantum computing is such a complex idea, it stumps even the brightest scientific minds.
But for our practical purposes, the main question is: How is a quantum computer different than your laptop or desktop?
Well, a normal computer uses bits (1's and 0's) which are generally stored on transistors. Normal computers use bits to execute code, store pictures, play music, check Facebook, and pretty much everything you can think of. Quantum computers store their information as qubits or quantum bits. Quantum bits are pretty tricky, because they can be a 0, or a 1, or both! This is called superposition.
This property allows for some pretty exciting things in the world of programming and mathematics. This third state that a qubit has is not observable. In fact when you do observe it, it turns into a 0 or a 1. Kind of like when you open the refrigerator door, the light always comes on. There's no way to see the inside of the dark refrigerator.