Quantum computing is a completely different concept from today’s ubiquitous digital computer. It makes use of the characteristics of quantum physical science (the subatomic particle physics) to carry out computations and simulations that aren’t feasible with a non-quantum computer.
The potential of quantum computers stems due to the fact that it’s not restricted by binaries (the ones and zeros in traditional processors for computers). Instead, it employs quantum bits, also called qubits, which can represent either zero, one, or both which is a “superposition state” that covers a vast range of possibilities.
Quantum computers approach problems in a different way by tackling them simultaneously instead of sequentially. They alter quantum properties of quantum interconnected qubits in order to attempt many different solutions instead of doing each one individually. This results in dramatic acceleration in solving specific types of problems.
First-generation quantum computers
When I think about today’s quantum computer, I think it is beneficial to draw an analogy to the development of computers that were digital. Much like the beginning days of computing in the classical era quantum computers are characterized by their complexity, heftiness and must be handled with care. They employ intricate mechanical engineering in order to keep the qubits within their untangled state.
The current quantum computing approaches seek to address optimization issues with broad cross-sector applications such as fine-tuning in supply chains. There are two broad techniques that are available, that of the universe-wide quantum computing in addition to the adiabatic (or the annealer) quantum computing like those that are supplied through D-Wave. Instead of valves and vacuum tubes, today’s quantum computers make use of a range of physical states to build qubits. They use trapped particles, superconductors, semiconductors, and nitrogen diamonds with vacancies to stabilize qubits, make calculations, and rectify errors.
At the present, it requires massive physical infrastructure, typically cooling the device to temperatures of near-zero while keeping the quantum computers in an atmosphere of absolute silence. Quantum computers appear much like the mainframes of the past than anything that could be able to sit on a desk or fit into the pockets of a bag or pocket. But, the technology and diminution that took the form and role of a valve back from the early 1950s to incorporated over one billion transistors on silicon chips we carry in our phones are currently advancing in the quantum computing realm.
Even with this complex design, the first-generation quantum machines of today are plagued by unstable physical qubits that have small capacity and a tendency to be prone to errors. Thus, engineers develop logical qubits which make use of numerous physical qubits to ensure stability and correct mistakes. For them to be helpful to business, there should be a minimum of 49 logical qubits. More complex applications, like simulations of real-world phenomena, require more than 150. The issue is that each logic qubit could require hundreds of physical qubits but the most current record for the most complex applications is google’s 72-qubit Bristlecone processor.
However, quantum computers offer a testing environment to experiment and develop by using quantum algorithms. It is unlikely that you will intend to run your entire company on them, but testing them now will help you transition to quantum supremacy, which is the level where a quantum computer can do a job superior to a digital computer, becomes available.
What is quantum computing? in the present?
Quantum computing can provide an advantage over conventional methods when you need to model or simulate complex real-world events. Examples include the discovery of pharmaceutical drugs and geophysical analysis for exploration of oil and gas as well as financial and weather forecasting as well as chemical and material science. In these areas, certain companies are investing in quantum technologies including Volkswagen as well as the hedge fund Renaissance as well as DE Shaw, and Biogen.
To have a head start organizations should start to become familiar with quantum algorithms, and then source the necessary skills to build these algorithms. It doesn’t require a significant investment in quantum computing infrastructure. IBM for instance offers quantum processors, quantum devices, and simulators on Cloud. In addition, organizations could try to collaborate with startups that are developing quantum software, such as Dow Chemical Company has 1Qbit. A different option would be to form partnership or sponsorship agreements with research institutions that are studying the technology, for instance, the US Army Research Office has done in conjunction with Yale.
As the quantum computing technology that is currently being developed for computing advances over the coming decade, a greater variety of organizations will be able to utilize quantum-as-a-service capabilities using the cloud as well as more specialized and standardized quantum computation. For the first-movers, there are many opportunities that are available today.
Supercharging financial services
The financial sector makes use of powerful computing to simulate markets and provide higher returns in a highly competitive marketplace. Quantum computing is able to run complex market simulations quicker as well in parallel which allows the optimization of transactions to be even faster.
There are many opportunities for quantum computing to boost the efficiency of the dynamic optimization of portfolios as well as pricing options and derivatives as well as risk management. There’s also a chance to improve the efficiency of algorithms that are based on a limited set of assumptions and heuristics which are limited by traditional machines.
Even though it is still in the early stages it is clear that Quantum computing is expected to expand fast as the technology advances. Initial experiments have begun to investigate the ways that quantum computing can optimize arbitrage.
The development of drugs is speeding up and also the science of materials
The development of drugs is a complicated business. It requires powerful computers to simulate the way that chemicals and proteins interact on a molecular level. With advances in genetic sequencing as well as the trend toward personalized treatments there’s an increasing need to study the effects of the latest drugs on patients.
Quantum computers’ capability to efficiently explore hundreds of combinations simultaneously and discard those that don’t perform, offers the opportunity to decrease the amount of time, money, and labor costs involved in discovering new methods.
The advantages of quantum computing go far beyond the discovery of drugs. The modeling can assist computational chemistry as well as materials science to develop new materials and enhance the efficiency of existing ones through simulation of interactions at a quantum level.
Supply chains that are finely tuned and logistics
Quantum computing is designed at solving the type of difficult mathematical problems that traditional computers aren’t able to solve. A classic instance is the “traveling salesman” problem in which a salesperson must visit a variety of cities in a short amount of time with different modes of transportation. Finding a solution to this type of issue could dramatically enhance the efficiency and design of logistics, supply chain, and transportation systems around the world. Volkswagen’s 2017 test took just one second to optimize taxis operating at the airport in Beijing as compared to an hour with an electronic computer.
This would allow companies to respond to anything from weather to major disasters in real-time.
Testing of turbocharging and increasing the resilience
Every company has had to deal with complex issues. Every software system has thousands of lines of code. Hardware may include millions of transistors. The more complicated the system is, the more difficult it is to forecast. What happens in the event of stress or when you upgrade them? Let’s consider complex real-time systems that have to take life-saving decisions and fly on the air. Quantum computing is employed to validate and verify the process of older code that had an issue that was known to be a problem and took over a year to discover using traditional methods. Quantum computers took a couple of weeks. If applied to increasingly complicated new planes, this may decrease the time-to-market by years, significantly disrupting the current market.
Quantum computing’s capability to run complex simulations as well as parallel calculations is already improving knowledge of the way systems respond to a variety of circumstances. This could be an important advantage in contingency planning today.
Will I need an umbrella?
Despite years of constantly improving computing capability, accurately forecasting weather remains difficult. Quantum computers are able to rapidly process huge amounts of data on weather conditions and carry out analysis that is too complex for traditional computers. The speed of algorithms could allow for the use of real-time data to alter forecasts.
Improved weather forecasting can benefit all industries, particularly transportation, supply chain, logistics, as well as agriculture. Perhaps quantum computing will stop the British hobby of speculating on the weather.
These are just a few of the industries that quantum computing could alter soon. In the long run, the world may change beyond understanding.
What will quantum computing look like?
The chances to gain advantages by playing around with quantum computers are currently promising. In the near future, there will be a quantum revolution. The reason is that quantum’s promise surpasses the challenges and obstacles to its adoption.
Generation One – a period to play and experiment, and also learn
As mentioned above We’re at the start of the quantum revolution with the first generation of hardware. Quantum computers today are similar to the first days of digital computing when we needed huge, complex machines for basic calculations.
In the first quantum computing generation, there are two major hardware issues. One is the reduction in noise, which can cause problems with quantum systems, which lead to the loss of quantum-related properties. The second is to improve the stability of the physical qubits which provide the error corrections to the logic qubits performing quantum calculations.
On the software front, The challenge for companies is to develop the algorithms. Quantum algorithms are fundamentally different from traditional computing algorithms and require totally different skill sets. Candidates competing for jobs who have quantum programming expertise will be intense.
Generation two – things start to get cloudy
The next generation of quantum computers is likely to be available within the next 10 years. However, when they do, they’ll provide a sophisticated quantum stack that will allow organizations access to a more user-friendly and integrated experience.
APIs and software development kits will allow every industry to benefit from quantum computing technology. Cloud-based quantum functions will be more efficient rather than investing in hardware which will remain mechanically difficult.
The next generation will have a more robust integration with current technology to offer hybrid quantum-digital solutions. These will have quantum elements that are optimized to deal with specific types of simulation and modeling.
Generation three – moving towards maturity
The 3rd generation of quantum computers will be arriving in the middle of the 2030s and will see the technology develop a more precise array of services and cloud access. Quantum algorithms and software will have also advanced and quantum computing is now useful for a wider variety of issues and appealing to a wide range of industries. Alongside the intricate modeling and simulation of earlier generations, quantum computing will also have new applications, such as machine learning and image search.
The question that remains unanswered is whether the next generation will introduce general-purpose quantum computers that can perform the vast array of applications of today’s digital computers. In fact, the jury is still deciding the question of whether a general-purpose quantum computer could even be beneficial. Experts believe that the best outcomes will be obtained from hybrid quantum machines, in which the quantum processor performs certain functions the same way as graphics vectors, vectors, and other specialty processors currently do.
Also, advancements in digital computers will be able to offset some of the benefits of quantum computing, pushing them into more special-purpose applications.
Quantum computing’s future is not certain
Like many things to come it’s hard to know with high levels of certainty what quantum computing’s revolution is going to play out. There is a lot of uncertainty around when quantum computing technology will be able to achieve quantum supremacy – the capability of quantum computers to tackle problems that conventional computers cannot. Many believe quantum supremacy may be possible to achieve by the end of 2019 While others think that for practical reasons it could be more than 10 years further away.
However, for certain sectors, there are opportunities that could be created by quantum computing that can be significant. Companies should invest in understanding the technology right now and begin to experiment with the first quantum computers. People who aren’t able to comprehend how to make use of the technology in the present should be aware of the advancement of quantum computers, or else they could miss the opportunity to benefit from this fascinating and revolutionary technology.