Main menu


Quantum Computing Present and Future: Description, Applications, and Issues

featured image

Quantum computing is already with us in limited ways. But just as classic computers migrated from labs and big companies to businesses and homes of all sizes in the 1970s and his 1980s, they could become mainstream in the next 5-10 years.

But not only do we make great strides in what we can do with computers, we also have to face a new set of problems, especially regarding computer threats to security and encryption. Also, some people actually believe that quantum computers are so complex and limited in the amount of tasks that they have been shown to outperform conventional computer technology that they may not be useful at all. I believe there is.

So, with some expert input from our recent podcast guest, Lawrence Guzman, co-founder and president of Inside Quantum Technology and author of over 300 books, we’ll explore where we are today and what quantum computing is all about. Here is my outline of where I want to get to with Research report.

What is quantum computing

Quantum computing, like everything related to the quantum (subatomic) domain, is not the easiest concept to understand. Basically, the term describes new (or future) generations of ultrafast computers that process information as “qubits” (quantum bits) instead of the usual bits (1s and 0s) of traditional computing. increase.

Classic computers are actually much more sophisticated versions of pocket calculators. It is based on an electrical circuit and a switch that is either on (1) or off (0). With lots of these 1’s and 0’s, you can store and process any kind of information. However, it always limits speed because it takes many 1’s and 0’s to represent a lot of information.

Quantum computing qubits can exist in many different states rather than simple 1s and 0s. Due to the strange nature of quantum mechanics, this could mean that they can exist as 1 and 0 at the same time (quantum superposition). It can also exist in any state between 1 and 0.

Gasman explains: And sometimes that really matters. Instead of “in two days he can do it in two hours”, we also say “in nine million years he can do it in two hours”. “

Nine million years sounds like the kind of number people only use when exaggerating, but some estimates put quantum computers at 158 ​​million years faster than the fastest supercomputer currently available. Works twice as fast.

However, there is one important caveat. Quantum computers are currently useful only in a fairly narrow range of applications. Don’t expect to be able to do everything you can now by just plugging a quantum processor into your Macbook.

So what are the advantages of quantum computing over classical computing?

The truth is that classical computers can solve all the problems that quantum computers solve.

The problem is that classical computers take so long to solve them that anyone who started looking for answers today is long dead!

In particular, it can be very useful for a class of problems known as optimization problems. You can illustrate this idea by imagining that a traveling salesman must visit any number of towns in any order. Elementary mathematics shows that as soon as there are more than a few towns, the number of possible routes becomes incredibly large, in the millions or billions. This means that calculating all the distances and times to find the fastest one would require an enormous amount of processing power if we were using traditional binary computing.

This is the tracking and routing of financial transactions across global financial networks, the development of new materials by manipulating their physical or genetic properties, and even how changing climate patterns affect the world around us. Influence in many different areas, such as the understanding of what influences.

“I think the biggest potential is in very large banks … but if you’re a big company and you have Goldman Sachs looking after a billion dollars, really,” Gusman said. Do you want that?” Can we leave it in the hands of some kind of new technology? We need to establish a certain level of trust…but every big bank has its own quantum team and the next 5 I’m looking for what I can do in 2020 to 10 years. “

What are the challenges with quantum computing?

First, there are some pressing physical challenges that must be resolved. Qubits themselves are highly unstable when they exist in a physical state, as they need to be able to represent data and perform computations. This means that it must be kept in a supercooled environment in order to be used, even if it is only there for a few nanoseconds. This means that quantum computing is currently very expensive, and only the largest companies and the most well-funded research institutes can afford to own them.

This means that evaluating use cases is also an expensive and time-consuming process. Gasman told me that his one use of creating more efficient MRI scans has already proven to be a dead end.

It has also been suggested that cosmic rays may hinder the widespread adoption of quantum computing. Moreover, errors caused by phenomena that can affect even classical computing may further affect the ultra-sensitive engineering needed to put large-scale qubits to good use. .

There is also a shortage of people with the skills to develop and use quantum computers. As Gussmann puts it, “What you want is someone who is a computer scientist, a physicist, a pharmaceutical or financial expert. It’s very difficult!”

Finally, similar to the challenges of implementing quantum computing, we cannot ignore the challenges that potentially arise when the technology becomes pervasive.

Threats to encryption are causing the biggest headaches today. Today, digital encryption is used to protect not only all communications and information, but everything online, including military, commercial, and national secrets. It works by the fact that encryption methods are so complex that it would take a conventional computer millions or billions of years to brute force and crack every possible password or key. To do. However, for a quantum computer, doing so may be trivial.

“This is a big problem,” Gusman says. “If there’s something encrypted on my machine and he breaks it in nine million years, he wouldn’t care so much!”

“But then … I found that with a quantum computer, I could decode it as it is now … this is a real problem!

“We don’t have such a quantum computer, and when it will appear, estimates are from five years to none at all…I think it will happen sooner or later.”

This problem is now being taken very seriously by governments and businesses, who are devoting resources to developing what is known as “post-quantum cryptography.”

What does the future of quantum computing hold?

The first developments we expect may reflect what happened in the late 1920s, when the classical computer transitioned from being a lab toy and something only large corporations could afford. There is a century.

This could follow the form of a transition from mainframes (filling entire buildings) to minicomputers (filling rooms) and finally to microcomputers that can live on our desks.

This democratization of access to quantum power will lead to new use cases as companies will be able to test against a unique set of challenges.

“A $50,000 computer is something most mid-sized businesses can afford, and an $800,000 computer isn’t that many,” Gasman said.

Problems where quantum computers may be used include monitoring and predicting traffic flows across complex urban environments, as well as processing the large amounts of data required for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Even if one day humans are able to model systems as complex as the biological brain, paving the way for true his AI, it’s a way of using classical computing. It would be nearly impossible.

Gasman said: Breakthrough – it won’t happen. That’s the excitement of quantum computing.

You can do it click here Watch a webinar with Lawrence Gasman, President and Co-Founder of IQT Research, for a deep dive into the future of quantum computing and what it means for the world.