The trick of quantum computing is to take the advantage of wave mechanics (superposition) and entanglement. This allows to perform parallel computations/manipulations with $2^n$ superposed waves for $n$ bits.

This principle does not rely on quantum mechanics. Superposed waves do also exist in classical mechanics (although I am not sure we can make the number of tones also scale exponentially with the size, but there could be some profit).

Are there examples of efforts to create classic analogues of quantum computers that use superposed waves and manipulate those, instead of using bits in silicon chips?

(I do not mean efforts to create a virtual quantum computer)

This question might be generalized. Are/were there any efforts to try to move away from binary computers?

  • $\begingroup$ @glS thank you for that reference. That line provides some useful discussion. I realize that the classical wave mechanics is not gonna give an exponential scaling, but I imagine that there could be still some sort of function in a bunch of classical oscillators (or something similar; I do not know what is practical) and use those to make computations. $\endgroup$ Mar 9 '21 at 14:24