What is Quantum Computing?

In our last blog, we looked at Gartner’s top ten strategic technology trends for 2019. One of these trends was quantum computing (QC).

QC promise to revolutionise the future of computing. And, once not much more than an idea, organisations and governments are now investing in the development of quantum technology.

But what is precisely is quantum computing, and how could it benefit the world we live in?

Quantum computing is no longer science fiction

According to Wired:

“Quantum computing takes advantage of the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time. Due to the way the tiniest of particles behave, operations can be done much more quickly and use less energy than classical computers”.

Which doesn’t really clear things up. So, to put things more simply:

“Imagine that you only have five minutes to find an X written on a page of a book among the 50 million books in the Library of Congress. In this scenario, you would be a regular computer and you would never find the X. But, if you had 50 million parallel realities and you could look at a different book in each of those realities (just like a quantum computer), you would find the X. A quantum computer splits you into 50 million versions of yourself to make the work quick and easy.”
Eric Ladizinsky, co-founder of quantum computing company D-Wave

Benefits of QC

Here are just some of the ways we expect QC will shake up the world as we know it:

  • Quantum computers can analyse vast quantities of data much more efficiently than traditional computers. Artificial intelligence (AI) uses this data to improve performance. So, with QC, the learning curve for AI will be significantly reduced
  • QC will be able to swiftly calculate all the available traffic routes at the same time. This will lead to more efficient scheduling. So QC will be a powerful tool when it comes to supply chains, fleet operations and deliveries
  • QC is expected to speed up drug trials. This is because, in any such trial, researchers need to evaluate the interactions between molecules, proteins and chemicals with an enormous amount of combinations having to be analysed. Quantum computers can review everything simultaneously, and make it possible to determine viable drug options quicker
  • With quantum computers, meteorologists can analyse more data at once, so we can expect to see improvements in weather forecasts. This will also be significant when it comes to preparing for and responding to climate change
  • QC will be able to analyse a problem or opportunity using every bit of data while simultaneously weighing up the different solutions. This has implications for business innovation.

Helping to solve problems that are beyond the capabilities of current computers, QC is set to be nothing short of game-changing over the next five to ten years.

And according to Gartner: “CIOs and IT leaders should start planning for QC by increasing understanding and how it can apply to real-world business problems. Learn while the technology is still in the emerging state. Identify real-world problems where QC has potential and consider the possible impact on security”.

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