Unless you have been living in a cave, you must have heard of quantum computing, the field that is set to overturn the world as we know it – or is it? For sure there is a great deal of quantum hype in the field. But what should you tune into and how might Quantum developments impact your business. We highlight some thinking around Quantum Computing with the aim to shine light on developments which could mean Quantum Computing is more disruptive than the Internet.
Quantum is Not Just in the Lab
A number of years ago, IBM opened their doors to almost anyone using their Quantum Cloud from anywhere. Their IBM Q experience has gone on leaps and bounds since 2016 and allowed users to build and run quantum circuits. Other companies have also opened their services and now we see the likes of Microsoft and Amazon come up with cloud based Quantum Computing solutions. All of these solutions are purely software with no hardware required.
D-wave the Canadian Quantum Computer maker was the first to sell commercial quantum computers. Companies such as Google and Lockheed Martin have been exploring how they can use these technologies in the field.
It works, it’s proven and tested and the world is watching
The fundamentals are proven. Just because it says “quantum”, doesn’t mean that it is airy fairy and “hand-wavy“. Quantum computing is real and in principle can offer a real speed-up over classical algorithms. Running algorithms faster means that your business could have a massive edge over your competition.
Imagine being able to run algorithms that give you can get an edge with whilst your competition cannot. Small (or big) advantages in algorithms can lead to entire industries. Imagine how we now use Google mapping services, to navigate now, imagine you are still in the business of selling printed maps.
Algorithms such as Shor can potentially offer ground breaking changes in technology that underpins much of the modern world. Other examples may be less extreme but might help scientists find molecules that could lead to new medicine or new catalysts that might help the climate.
There are few algorithms which are proving that Quantum algorithms can beat classical algorithms in specific cases. The Shor algorithm can crack cryptography, Grover’s can help find information in unsorted data and HHL can be used to solve linear algebra problems.
However in the shorter term NISQ based devices are being explored with a number of algorithms such as VQE or QUBO algorithms with typically applications being explored in materials, finance and drug development.
Understanding QC could pay dividends later
Quantum Computing might not be quite prime time, but that doesn’t mean you cannot prepare for the future by learning, researching and reading about the field. Even if you cannot see any immediate application, being prepared will always pay dividends.
Imagine what happened with the Internet in the 1990’s. Many businesses did not research or consider how the Internet would affect their business and now they find themselves totally disrupted or out of the business. Now is the perfect time to learn some of the fundamentals of Quantum Computing so you at least know the basics.
There are plenty of resources available around the web. One of the better ways to learn about Quantum Computing is via courses online. We have a entire section dedicated to quantum courses.
The impact to your business may blind side you
Predicting future is hard. But the annals of business history are littered with people who were confident of the future. With so many researchers and companies exploring Quantum Computing, new developments could further accelerate and developments which could mean catching up becomes difficult.
Very few of us know what the killer applications of Quantum Computing will be, but that doesn’t mean idly waiting for these developments to happen. The best way to prepare is to understand what is happening right now and that means exploring the basics of Quantum Computation – whether that is looking at the operation of quantum gates for example.
You can easily learn the basis behind Quantum Computing with minimal mathematics from one of the many courses out there!
Yes there is Hype – how to separate Fact from Fiction
As with any disruptive innovation there will be tremendous amount of hype. Part of the any intelligent look into the field will be negotiating the line between hype and reality. Again we would say the best way is by learning the fundamentals of Quantum Computing, following blogs (we hope ours is in included in that).
Do not expect that Quantum Computing will suddenly make everything faster and more efficient. Currently only certain Quantum algorithms will enable speed-ups and the rest offer no speed-up over classical algorithms.
In summary, get educated. There are some amazing resources out there from some of the bigger technology players. IBM are working hard to promote IBM Q and their services. Start-ups such as Xanadu are showing the world how Hybrid applications might work and exploring fields such as Quantum Machine Learning.
Don’t get left behind...