“It’s a game changer for the corporation, it’s a game changer for our customers, and ultimately it’s a game changer for humanity.”
Greg Tallant, Research Engineering Manager, Lockheed Martin
“We actually think quantum machine learning may provide the most creative problem solving process under the known laws of physics.”
Hartmut Neven, Director of Engineering, Google
This post will give you a good flavor for the vast benefits quantum computing will deliver. If the information peaks your interest, you can easily dig deeper by visiting the companies mentioned below.
Ultimately, quantum computers will be millions of times faster than the fastest supercomputers computers now in production. A quantum computer from Google is already 100,000,000 times faster than a high-level laptop computer. They will enable powerful applications far beyond what is currently possible. A simulated human brain, extremely accurate weather forecasting and robots-with-feelings just scratch the surface of what will be possible.
Argonne National Labs describes quantum as follows: Classical computers are number crunching machines, performing basic arithmetical operations on numbers. In computer language, these numbers are expressed in binary number units of zeros and ones, also called bits. Each bit, stores the smallest piece of information and can accept a value of either 1 or 0. Quantum computers are designed to operate on quantum bits. An extraordinary property of qubits is that they can be of any value equal to or between -1 and
+1, until we measure them. As in a classical computer, the initial states of qubits need to be prepared before quantum data processing or data storage.
New quantum discoveries and breakthroughs are happening rapidly. For example, Engineers in New South
Wales invented a new architecture based on ‘flip-flop qubits’, that may greatly reduce the cost of large-scale manufacturing of quantum chips. This will help significantly drive down the cost of quantum computers. You can read about it here: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-flip-flop-qubits- radical-quantum.html
I believe quantum computing will be mainstream by 2028. It surprises many people to learn there are already a growing number of quantum applications now in production. The Volkswagen Group is an example of a forward-thinking company that sees great value in quantum computing. In March 2017, Volkswagen announced its first successful research project completed on a quantum computer: a traffic flow optimization for 10,000 taxis in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
Martin Hofmann, Chief Information Officer of the Volkswagen Group, says: “Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast-track for future-oriented topics. We at Volkswagen want to be among the first to use quantum computing for corporate processes as soon as this technology is commercially available. Thanks to our cooperation with Google, we have taken a major step towards this goal.”
D-Wave Systems (dwavesys.com) is a leader in the field of quantum computing. As of August 2018, D-Wave had installed more than $50 million worth of quantum systems at customer sites. The D-Wave 2000Q system is available through sale or lease as a standalone system, or via their quantum cloud.
Quantum computers are complicated, which is why I like this simple quantum explanation from D-Wave:
“In nature, physical systems tend to evolve toward their lowest energy state: objects slide down hills, hot things cool down, and so on. This behavior also applies to quantum systems. To imagine this, think of a traveler looking for the best solution by finding the lowest valley in the energy landscape that represents the problem.
Classical algorithms seek the lowest valley by placing the traveler at some point in the landscape and allowing that traveler to move based on local variations. While it is generally most efficient to move
downhill and avoid climbing hills that are too high, such classical algorithms are prone to leading the traveler into nearby valleys that may not be the global minimum.
Numerous trials are typically required, with many travelers beginning their journeys from different points. In contrast, quantum annealing begins with the traveler simultaneously occupying many coordinates thanks to the quantum phenomenon of superposition. The probability of being at any given coordinate smoothly evolves as annealing progresses, with the probability increasing around the coordinates of deep valleys.
Quantum tunneling allows the traveler to pass through hills—rather than be forced to climb them—reducing the chance of becoming trapped in valleys that are not the global minimum. Quantum entanglement further improves the outcome by allowing the traveler to discover correlations between the coordinates that lead to deep valleys.”
Rigetti Computing (rigetti.com) is a full stack quantum computing company. They provide quantum developer tools including the Forest Quantum API. They have an active community that brings together researchers and quantum enthusiasts to share, connect and collaborate. If you are want to learn what it takes to develop for quantum as a career or hobby you will find a lot of information and insights.
I suggest you visit their Try Forest page and review the growing platform, tools, ecosystems and solutions being developed. They even have GitHub repositories, documentation and a lot more very exciting quantum goodies! You will not be disappointed:
- – Grove is a repository to showcase quantum programs developed using the Forest API.
- – Race against a quantum algorithm – Play a simple game that demonstrates a practical hybrid classical/quantum optimization algorithm using Rigetti’s computing stack.
IBM (IBM.com) developed a powerful 50 qubit quantum computer in early 2018. The machine will surpass the theoretical power of a classical ‘bits and bytes’ computer
when it reaches a more fully stable stage – possibly it has as you read this. IBM used an innovative quantum process called superconductivity to architect the machine. This allowed for greater stability than previous architectures that manipulated photons.
IBM has a good video on quantum computing plus lots of other information at -https://www.research.ibm.com/ibm-q/ IBM press releases indicate that future applications of
quantum computing may include:
- Drug and Materials Discovery: Discovery of new medicines and materials by untangling the complexity of molecular and chemical interactions
- Supply Chain & Logistics:Optimizing the supply chain by discovering the ultimate routes for deliveries during the holiday season
- Financial Services:Isolating global risk factors but finding new ways to model financial data which can lead to better investments
- Artificial Intelligence:Making facets of artificial intelligence, such as machine learning much more powerful when data sets can be too big such as searching images or video. Currently searching multimedia is a labor intensive task. Some companies outsource this type of labor-intensive, monotonous and sometimes disgusting work (you can imagine what they are looking to insure is not on their sites).
- Cloud Security: Using the laws of quantum physics to enhance private data safety, making cloud computing more secure
Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President of IBM Systems, said: “Classical computers are extraordinarily powerful and will continue to advance and underpin everything we do in business and society. But there are many problems that will never be penetrated by a classical computer. To create knowledge from much greater depths of complexity, we need a quantum computer. We envision IBM Q systems working in concert with our portfolio of classical high-performance systems to address problems that are currently unsolvable, but hold tremendous untapped value.”
IBM also released an API (Application Program Interface) and SDK (Software Developers Kit) for the IBM Quantum Experience. Informative videos on this page – (https://quantumexperience.ng.bluemix.net/qx/community?ch annel=videos). This enables developers and programmers to build interfaces between its existing five quantum bit cloud-based quantum computer and classical computers, without needing a deep background in quantum physics.
The IBM Quantum Experience enables anyone to connect to IBM’s quantum processor via the IBM Cloud, to run algorithms and experiments, work with the individual quantum bits, and explore tutorials and simulations around what might be possible with quantum computing.
Google is another leader in the quantum computer race to the top. During March 2018, they released a 72-qubit machine making it the highest qubit machine in the world. I am confident as you are reading this that 72 has been surpassed. Google Research has a repository of information at https://research.google.com/pubs/QuantumAI.html – but be prepared for some highly technical information as well as more high level examples.
IonQ (ionq.co) is building the world’s first fully-expressive, full-stack quantum computer based on trapped ion technology. IonQ’s trapped ions represent one of multiple approaches being explored to power a quantum computer. IonQ believes trapped ion technology, which uses lasers to cool and isolate individual ions, will prevail because trapped ions are identical, more stable, can be better controlled, and are therefore likely to scale with better performance and greater predictability.
In February 2018 QuTech (qutech.nl), a Dutch quantum research and development company, created a programmable 2-qubit quantum processor on a silicon chip. They published their work in the magazine Nature – https://qutech.nl/programming-silicon-quantum-chip/
I was curious if the U.S. government sees the same extraordinary opportunities for quantum computing as the tech giants and I do. So, I did some research. This document buried deep within the Department of Energy web site shows it is very much on their radar.
National Strategic Computing Initiative
Computing Beyond Moore’s Law Ceren Susut Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) Ceren.Susut- Bennett@science.doe.gov December 20th, 2016
National Strategic Computing Initiative Strategic Objectives
- Accelerating delivery of a capable exascale computing system that integrates hardware and software capability to deliver approximately 100 times the performance of current 10 petaflop systems across a range of applications representing government needs.
- Increasing coherence between the technology base used for modeling and simulation and that was used for data analytic computing.
- Establishing, over the next 15 years, a viable path forward for future HPC (high Performance Computing) systems even after the limits of current semiconductor technology are reached (the “post- Moore’s Law era”).
- Increasing the capacity and capability of an enduring national HPC ecosystem by employing a holistic approach that addresses relevant factors such as networking technology, work-flow, downward scaling, foundational algorithms and software, accessibility, and workforce development.
- Developing an enduring public-private collaboration to ensure that the benefits of the research and development advances are, to the greatest extent, shared between the United States Government and industrial and academic sectors.
ASCR plans a Quantum Testbed Facility that will provide the research community with access to early-stage quantum computing devices. The program’s goal is to evaluate the utility of quantum computing to advance scientific questions of relevance to DOE to the extent that quantum computing proves value for DOE and facilitates the technology development required to provide production-quality quantum computing resources in the post-Exascale timeframe
The facility will:
- Advance quantum computing for science by allowing researchers greater access to early-stage technology
- Lead insight into how to assemble better systems for quantum computing and simulation
- Adopt the most advanced existing systems of qubits; adapt as technology evolves
- Complement quantum computing investments in NNSA and at other Federal agencies
- Address identified impediments to progress in quantum information science by: Bridging institutional and disciplinary boundaries
Training a skilled quantum information workforce
Working synergistically with the emerging U.S. quantum computing industry.
In summary, it is important to keep quantum computing on your radar. Eventually, all computers will be based on quantum and what is impossible today will be ‘easy peesey’ for the next generation of computing technology. Start preparing for your business and career future now.