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Quantum Computing is Nearly Here: Are You Ready?

Rajesh Prakasam

March 21, 2022

There’s no question that quantum computing is making its way into the limelight at what could be a record-breaking pace. In somewhat simple terms, quantum computing encompasses the study of how humans can use the phenomena of quantum physics to create new ways of computing.

Unlike a standard computer bit, quantum computing consists of qubits. Qubits can be either a zero or a one or a superposition of both. By harnessing the collective properties of quantum states, such as entanglement, superposition, and interference, quantum computing is making great strides toward successful calculations.

Quantum computers possess the potential ability to process far more information (correctly) than non-quantum computers. By performing calculations based on the probability of an object’s state before it’s measured without relying on only zeros and ones, the data storage of quantum computing is exponential.

Utilizing Quantum Computing

As quantum technology accelerates toward commercial visibility, technology buffs (and the general public) have begun questioning the intended use of quantum technology as a whole. The internet is alive with searches that contemplate whether or not it’s even real, and major corporations, like IBM, are here to tell us that quantum computing is more than real.

In fact, quantum computing is solving problems that our supercomputers cannot. Very recently, a research center in Japan announced its success with entangling qubits, which could improve the potential for error correction in quantum computers. This discovery alone makes it entirely possible to develop large-scale quantum computers, but for what?

Ending Our Reliance on Supercomputers

For decades, we’ve relied on supercomputers to solve major technological issues, but there are some problems that supercomputers cannot resolve. Unfortunately, time has revealed that in some instances, supercomputers aren’t that effective and do not have the working memory to sort the myriad of combinations that come with real-world problems.

Also, it’s crucial to consider that humans built supercomputers to analyze each combination, one after another, which can take an excruciatingly long amount of time. To help paint a clearer picture, here are a few examples:

  • Pharmaceutical companies simulate molecules to understand drug interactions better
  • Investment companies balancing the risks of their current portfolios
  • Logistics companies, delivering nationwide, require the best route combinations to save on fuel costs

While a supercomputer could technically determine these results, quantum computers have the capacity and understanding to deliver faster and more accurate results over a much shorter time. From reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere to implementing quantum battery technology, quantum computers solve major problems where supercomputers fall short

The Development of Quantum Technology

Breakthroughs regarding quantum technology are growing at exponential rates, and investment dollars are pouring in just as quickly. Quantum computer start-ups are beginning to increase, and larger-scale tech companies are also getting in on the quantum computing action. From Amazon and Google to Microsoft and IBM, cloud-based commercial quantum communication is here.

It’s important to note that the number of companies utilizing and building themselves upon quantum computing does not necessarily equate to commercial success. Quantum computers show a ton of promise regarding the ability to help businesses solve problems at exponential rates, but the application is in its somewhat early experimental phases.

In most cases, experts are still attempting to determine the best topics for the field to test a hypothesis. Harnessing the power to make business-related decisions (that would take a conventional computer more than a week to make) in less than a second is desirable. Still, we must understand where and when to apply it safely.

The Benefits of Quantum Computing

It’s possible that the leaps and bounds made in the field of quantum computing could change the world. However, it’s the responsibility of technology leaders to realize that not every aspect of quantum computing is beneficial and educate ourselves as much and as often as possible on the reality and capabilities of these machines and the extent of artificial intelligence presented.

The Risk of Quantum Computing

One of the most significant risks that we face concerning quantum computing is cyber security and the overall risk of access to sensitive information. In reality, quantum computers will possess the ability to break into the public access key widely used by companies globally to protect consumer data.

In short, this unprecedented hacking possibility presented by quantum computers means that data that’s secure now may not be in the future. Figuring out how to combat this is key in utilizing quantum computing, and we should encourage investments into quantum-resistant security measures.

Debates Within the Field of Quantum Computing

While experts continue to debate over very fundamental aspects of quantum computing, it’s becoming more and more crucial that we begin to prepare for the quantum era. Technology and business leaders should be in the process of formulating their versions of quantum computing, primarily in industries that will likely be the most affected, such as big pharma, in preparation to reap early benefits.

The change will come more quickly than most of us have ever imagined, with commercial quantum computing services making public debuts as soon as 2030. Reports on quantum computing have been developed to help leaders better prepare and find balance in an ever-emerging quantum ecosystem.

Equipping for the Era of Quantum Computing

If your company hasn’t begun dipping its toes into the quantum computing pool, the time is now. Companies and their technology leaders and teams must prepare for the quantum boom because it’s nearly here, and the evolution is moving quickly.

Commercial uses for quantum computing in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, automotive, and finance are imminent. The sooner our teams can figure out how to implement this unprecedented technology safely, the better the outcomes.

Preparing for the quantum era means fully accepting that these machines will heavily impact the world, possibly advancing technology in ways we might not fully understand. While this message can feel scary, taking quantum development seriously every step of the way will be essential to skirting misuse.

As calls for ethical guidelines become louder, we must support the movement. Education is power, and we should ensure that businesses, governments, and the public are fully educated on the possibilities that come with quantum computers.

By

Rajesh Prakasam

VP - Engineering

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