What is Quantum Computing and why is it a game-changer?
Continuing with our series of The Top 10 Technologies of this decade , today we look at a relatively new but immensely powerful technological leap, Quantum Computing.
What is Quantum Computing?
Computing systems to date relied on a basic ability to store and manipulate information in the form of individual bits, which are binary in nature with 0 and 1 states. A new breakthrough came in technology with the invention of Quantum Computing.
Quantum computers leverage quantum mechanical phenomena to analyze information. In quantum computing, quantum bits (also known as qubits) have two states but can store more information than 1 or 0 because they can exist in any superposition of these values. Superposition refers to a combination of states or a mixture of states we would ordinarily describe independently. For example, if two musical notes are played at once, then you will hear a superposition of the two notes.
Source: IBM | Quantum Computing
Quantum computers are best suitable for solving mathematical problems. The main applications of Quantum computing which are being worked upon are Cybersecurity & Blockchain, Big Data, optimization, chemistry, and material science. Quantum computers will make it possible to process the huge amount of data we’re generating in the digital age, i.e. big data.
Quantum computing can aid in data integration by comparing schemas to swiftly analyze and understand the relationship between two counterparts. This offers new possibilities for big data and analytics in the future.
Tech Giants Involved
IBM was the first company to build universal quantum computers in 2017, via the IBM Quantum(IBM Q) Network and unveiled it commercially in 2019. The two tech giants involved, Google and IBM, are working on making great things possible, also there are few more companies researching the same.
Adding a bit of perspective, Google’s Sycamore has claimed to have achieved something called “quantum supremacy” for the first time. They demonstrated it by solving a problem in 200 seconds that would have taken today’s fastest supercomputer around 10,000 years. IBM is instead chasing a very different measure of success, something it calls “quantum advantage”-the elusive threshold at which quantum computers outperform classical machines in certain use cases.
IBM’s quantum computer (Image Source: VentureBeat)
How will it help with Big Data & Artificial Intelligence?
Quantum computing is capable of administering large unsorted data sets at much faster speeds and can supply data to AI technologies to analyze data at a more granular level to identify patterns and anomalies. Classical computers take a lot of time in analyzing big data. Quantum Computing offers a lot of promises in information processing systems, mainly in Big Data Analytics. According to the growth of big data, computer architecture has also changed significantly, making it an essential demand for a different computational approach that can handle big data and analyze it to solve real-world problems. Quantum computers are well equipped to solve sequential problems efficiently by leveraging businesses and consumers to make better decisions and compelling companies to invest in the new technology when it becomes available.
How will Quantum Computing change the world we live in?
Let us look at some potential possibilities of the world in the age of Quantum Computing
Leaps in Health sector innovation
As Quantum computing will revolutionize Artificial Intelligence rapidly by enabling analysis of huge quantities of data, they can significantly shorten the AI learning curve. This intuitive technology will give us creating life-saving medicines to solving some of science’s most complex problems.
More energy-efficient materials, better weather forecasting, and better financial modeling
Imagine the most powerful computer we could possibly build and then replicate a trillion identical copies — each operating in parallel dimensions. This is the premise of quantum computing, which uses the fundamental laws of quantum physics to perform an incomprehensible number of calculations simultaneously. This “4th Industrial Revolution”, as dubbed by Morgan Stanley, will yield explosive opportunities for both science and industry. Immediate applications include synthesis of new drugs and more energy-efficient materials, as well as weather forecasting, financial modeling, and other applications of Artificial Intelligence.
IBM and Daimler use quantum computer to develop next-generation lithium sulfur (Li-S) batteries that would be more powerful, longer lasting and cheaper than today’s widely used lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.
Trading no more
Quantum computing will make human trading obsolete. Quantum algorithms are going to take that electronic advantage to a whole new level and will be able to scan massive databases almost instantly, consuming mountains of financial data in milliseconds and producing actionable suggestions in less. The opportunities for arbitrage will be endless.
AI powered robots that can carry real conversations
Quantum Computing is leaps and bounds more advanced than anything we have today. An AI on a Quantum Computer will be much more precisely trained to hold a real conversation with humans and actually understand what is being said.
Significant threat to cyber-security - to online banking transactions, all our communications, driverless cars and even our elections
So, the power of quantum computers potentially poses a significant threat to cyber-security. We need to completely rethink the way we secure commercial transactions (and all other data transfers) or none of them will be safe. Fortunately, quantum cyber-security is already tackling that challenge with advances including quantum key distribution, quantum safe algorithms and true random numbers. Quantum Computing will force us to re-think the fundamental paradigms of our digital security. Fortunately, there are solutions for quantum-safe cryptography which need to be implemented soon.
These are just some of the potential examples. We are entering a new era with tremendous potential for scientific discoveries, which might have wide ranging applications for material science, chemistry — really anything that involves complex physical systems. There could be much greater scope and we may start discovering what quantum computers can be useful for in a much broader scope, ranging from optimization to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The future looks promising!
Read more on The Top 10 Technologies of this decade here
Shriya Madan, an ardent learner, a digital enthusiast, aspires to make an impact in the real world with the power of technology
Pranjali Apurva, driven by curiosity, converging design principles with digital transformation