Quantum Computing: What CIOs Need To Know
Quantum computing use cases hold promise, but their impact on organizations will be huge. How close are we to quantum computing? Indeed, it is not so tight that technology can create value for organizations in the short term, but also not so far away that we don’t have to prepare for technology.
What Is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing is an emerging technology that tries to solve problems that are too difficult or even impossible for traditional supercomputers through an approach to computing based on a completely different basic unit: qubits – rather than bits.
While bits have two possibilities – heads or tails, say – qubits are like coins spinning on a table and can land either heads or tails, but also in a superposition and even tangle of states, that is, in heads-up behavior. Simultaneous crown – a quantum behavior.
In practice, this behavior allows quantum computers to run multiple calculations simultaneously, with various data sources, at an enormous scale.
What Are Quantum Computers Like?
Quantum computers are expensive and complex machines developed by a few companies. There are experimental quantum computers in university labs, private companies, and startups, but also computers that partially do what a full-fledged quantum computer would do.
But the options already commercialized are few, besides having a low number of qubits. Most quantum computers have less than 100 qubits, meaning no quantum computer solves a problem faster than an existing behavior.
Vendors, however, expect to change this scenario soon: they work to increase this number of qubits, which will be critical to ensuring significant applications of the technology to generate business value. IBM, by the way, has announced a 1,000-qubit roadmap for 2023, which could be a milestone for value creation.
Applications Of Quantum Computing
Today, quantum computing still does not solve any relevant business problems. However, much energy is being put into connecting quantum computing research with industry, as the commercialization of quantum technology is a priority for research centers.
The field is rapidly advancing in research and development of applications and proofs of concept in pursuit of value creation and increased trust.
Some potential applications are already on the horizon:
- Mathematical problem solving
- quantum artificial intelligence
- Deep learning model training
- Development of batteries with greater capacity and charging speed
- low energy processing
- Simulation of small and complex molecules such as enzymes.
Quantum Computing Market
Sectors such as logistics and transport, finance, energy, pharmaceutical, chemical and industrial, where quantum computing has great potential, are already involved in experiments.
The quantum computing market is formed by providers of quantum processing power and companies that act as intermediaries between them and consumers. They help organizations start experiments with quantum computing, with solutions ranging from training to software.
Quantum Computing Challenges
Lack Of Coherence And Noise
Qubits are extremely sensitive. When qubits are exposed to environmental factors or put together too large to work together, noise and lack of coherence arise.
What happens is that one qubit interferes with another, creating any combinations, which doesn’t happen in a bit environment. As a result, inputs can be lost or changed, leading to erroneous results.
Fragility Of Qubits
Qubits are more error-prone, difficult to control, and are always on the verge of breaking out of their quantum state. To maintain qubits’ stability, for example, computers are kept in icy environments, at sub-zero temperatures, something impractical in the business environment.
One of the biggest challenges in quantum computing is building computers that contain enough qubits to perform valuable calculations for organizations.
Quantum Computing: The Horizon
Quantum computing is in its infancy, and in its current form, no CIO can expect to get much value out of it in the short term. Many developmental milestones must be passed before the technology translates into visible business impacts.
Still, companies in immediately impacted industries don’t think it’s too early to get involved. Many are already preparing to quickly and pioneering the use of the power of quantum computing five to ten years from now through experiments and POCs.