Quantum Computing is an evolving technology that will provide faster computational solutions to problems currently being handled only by supercomputers – or considered unsolvable with the present state of computer technology.
Quantum mechanics is the basis of Quantum Computing and refers to the scientific laws that affect the smallest dimension of nature: molecules, atoms and subatomic particles. At this level new physical phenomena arise (superposition, entanglement) and they can be used for computing – if carefully engineered into machines.
Today standard computers process information in bits, with each bit represented by a zero or one. Quantum computers, however, use quantum bits, or qubits, which can be zero, one or a mixture of zero and one (a so-called superposition). This can lead to extremely quick processing – meaning that calculations that are not possible using conventional computers are becoming a reality.
Types of Algorithms
Quantum computers can explore problems which are exponential in nature and are best suited to solving problems using three types of algorithms:
Optimization Algorithms: Finding the best solution with the least error from a multitude of possible solutions.
Sampling Algorithms: Finding values from data sets that allow generalizations about the distribution of the population.
Machine Learning Algorithms: Executing machine learning algorithms on a Quantum Computer leads to better algorithm processing and faster results.
We use SONAR, our tool for quantified foresight that tracks topic occurrences within expert media articles, mass media, patents and scientific publications, to give you the latest insights on how different industries are dealing with the Quantum Computing opportunities and how far its real use cases have come.
Quantum computing in the Computer Science industry has grown continuously since 2013. Morgan Stanley analysts predict that the high-end quantum computing market (currently estimated by IBM at $5-6 billion per year) will nearly double and reach $10 billion per year by 2025. The development of quantum computers has experienced a serious boost since the tech giants entered the race.
As Quantum computing poses a threat to today's security mechanisms because it challenges the most common encryption methods, it is essential that governments and enterprises develop quantum secure solutions. In this race, China is at the forefront with initiatives such as the Micius satellite or the establishment of a national network infrastructure. Although not yet available at commercial level, advances in quantum computing also have the potential to improve security and encryption.
Quantum Computing is attracting increasing interest from financial services companies with applications ranging from portfolio optimisation, fraud detection, payment systems to high frequency trading. In recent years, there has been a steady increase in investment activity, with financial companies such as Goldman Sachs, RBS, Citigroup investing money in Quantum Computing technology or hiring their own talent to stay ahead of the competition. Some financial firms are already beginning to experiment with use cases that apply the technology in the Fintech field.
Trends in the logistics and transportation sectors registered growth rates when many companies operating in these fields began to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Quantum Computing. The announcement that major automakers Daimler and Honda are purchasing IBM's quantum computers sparked a significant increase in interest. This growth has continued as numerous aerospace companies have increased their investment and research activities relative to the role of Quantum Computing in their industries. However, the highest interest to date was seen when Volkswagen announced the use of Quantum Computing for traffic management.
Quantum computers are able to reduce computing processes from years to hours or even minutes by parallel processing – which is exponentially scaled by the addition of qubits. Particularly in the areas of ML, AI and Big Data, this promises to address complex problems that could not be solved due to the computational limitations of classical computer architecture.
The power of quantum computers will dwarf current processing possibilities and lead us into a new era of knowledge and discovery. However, this power poses such a huge threat to cyber security that the protection of commercial transactions and other data transfers must be completely redesigned. Fortunately, quantum cyber security is already meeting this challenge with advances such as quantum key distribution, quantum secure algorithms, and true random numbers.
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