Promising to be a million times (or more) faster than what we have at our disposal today, quantum computers will bring world-changing potential.
Able to compute massive amounts of data, one of quantum computing’s central applications could be in artificial intelligence (AI), where it will be able to rapidly speed up the AI learning curve.
Able to calculate an ‘incomprehensible’ number of calculations in one instant, quantum computing will allow industry and science to enter a new universe of prediction modelling.
That could include the synthesis of new drugs and energy-efficient materials, as well as financial modelling, with other big data applications in aerospace & defence, BFSI, healthcare & life sciences, energy & utilities.
Those are just a few use cases our tiny human brains can conceive right now— quantum computing’s real potential will likely dwarf our current imagination.
As computing giants such as IBM, Intel, and Microsoft race to launch the first quantum computer, the first wave of this technology could be just over the horizon.
In the UK, for example, prototypes could be launched as early as 2020 as a result of a US$20 million Industrial Challenge Fund investment.
Spend on quantum by the enterprise will drive some US$5.8 billion in spending by 2025, according to Allied Market Research, with a compound annual growth rate of 31.7 per cent. That growth will be compounded by dropping manufacturing and material costs.
Despite the head-spinning applications— and spend predictions to match— Jamie Snowdon, Chief Data Officer at HFS Research said most enterprise leaders don’t have a clear understanding of the technology.
“Technology leaders must build a clear understanding of quantum, and when they do, they might find a couple of alternatives that could help with real-life problems more quickly,” said Snowdon.
According to Snowdon, there are three types of quantum computers that need considering. While cost, availability and speed spectrums vary greatly between them (see the image below), differences go beyond, and it’s important for businesses to understand which ones could benefit them most.
Universal gate quantum computers
Performing the most complex of quantum algorithms, these will be what most commonly spring to mind when we talk ‘QC’. Also known as full quantum computers, these are the machines being developed by the world’s biggest tech giants.
Quantum gate computers can execute the most complex of algorithms, such as Shor’s (to break RSA cryptography) and Grover’s (faster search), as well as around 50 other algorithms.
According to a quantum physicist, Anastasia Marchenkova, developments and approaches to manufacturing will be the “tipping point” for universal gate quantum computing. One of the key challenges is being able to research and develop chips and test them efficiently to improve coherence— the length of time information is stored and can be manipulated.
However, all-Silicon chip breakthroughs could help to make chip development quicker and less specialized.