A Quantum Leap

Charting the Future of Computing

The end of 2018 was anything but smooth: it featured a roller coaster ride for global stock markets, as well as political turbulence in the United States in the form of a government shutdown, open issues like the border wall and immigration, and more.

And talking about U.S. politics, we can all agree that over the last couple of years our political parties have seen tremendous disagreement on all kinds of issues, however small or big they are. Even technology giants like Facebook and Google could not avoid taking a beating from political pressure globally. Time and time again, history has proven that politics have always played a significant role in deciding the course of technology and shaping the future generation of technical advancement, both for good and bad.

A National Quantum Initiative Program

However, something that caught my eye while reading through the news recently is that H.R. 6227 – National Quantum Initiative Act passed on 12/21/2018 with the majority of votes. Well, maybe it's not a big deal in mutual understanding for our politicians in Washington, but it sure will be a quantum leap towards how we will use computers and power of computing in coming decades.

This bill directs the President to implement a National Quantum Initiative Program to, among other things, establish the goals and priorities for a 10-year plan to accelerate the development of quantum information science and technology applications. The bill defines ‘quantum information science’ as the storage, transmission, manipulation, or measurement of information that is encoded in systems that can only be described by the laws of quantum physics.

If you are wondering what quantum computing is and if quantum computers are different than modern day’s computer we use? The answer is absolutely YES!

What Makes Quantum Computers Different?

Quantum computers are the new generation of computers with incredible processing power that works on the principles of quantum mechanics. Current computers are fast and have been solving our challenges for decades. However, these computers are bounded by the laws of physics and pretty much come to a standstill when it comes to exponential scaling.

Today’s computer still operates on binary numbers, called bits, which can be either 0 or 1. The quantum world works with qbits, or quantum bits, which can be a 0 or 1 or both at the same time. In layman’s terms, a quantum computer’s basic foundation is different than present computers not just in terms of speed but also in the basic principles upon which it is built. 

So how fast will quantum computers be? Put it this way—many of today’s complex problems, which will take a classic computer millions or billions of years to solve, can be solved by a powerful quantum computer in minutes or seconds. I also think quantum computer problem-solving will not work like magic; it will have its own limitations on the kinds of problem it will be able to tackle.

In the meantime, if you want to understand the concept of quantum computing in depth, here is an interesting video to get you started.

Putting Quantum Computing to Work

It looks like the promise of quantum computing is enormous compared to our traditional computing capabilities. The most important question will then become how quantum computing will help businesses across all verticals, like finance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, etc. I think quantum computing will be tremendously useful in solving issues where the number of possible outcomes is exponential, such as in the financial, retail, and bio-medical industries. Also, by combining the power of machine and deep learning with quantum computing, it will provide a massive boost to industries in solving complex problems.

Having a quantum computers as your personal laptop is a far-fetched dream in the near future. Researchers needs to further refine the technology from both the hardware and software side. But, if you are interested, you can try IBM's cloud-based quantum computer, which is available to use for free.

While researchers are tirelessly working to overcome several obstacles in preparing quantum computers for real-life usage, I guess there's still a long wait before we see it materialize into reality. But in realizing the massive impact that this innovation stands to have on businesses, it sure will be worth the wait if the promise of qbits actually plays out its magic.

Additional References

Arup Datta
Head Of Business Process Management

Arup Datta is an enterprise solution specialist in the field of process transformation, machine learning, and robotic process automation, with experience in design, process modeling, integration, and development. Arup provides technology and advisory solutions across several industries, including finance, banking, retail, and insurance.

With extensive experience delivering end-to-end solutions, assessments, and estimations, Arup has in-depth experience in defining strategic architecture and providing business and technology consulting to IT and business partners.