Quantum computing – a concept out of Star Trek or something I should care about? Truthfully, it may be a bit of both. In this article, we’ll distill down what quantum computing is and its benefits and applications.
What is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing has been a buzzword in the technology world for a while now, but outside of the world of physics, not many know what it means. Now that the quantum world is spilling into the world of business, it becomes necessary to learn more about it.
Without getting in the weeds of it, quantum computing is essentially a leap from quantum theory (which explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels). It is an area of computing focused on developing computer technology based on the principles of quantum theory. Computers today can only encode information in bits that take the value of 1 or 0. This restricts their ability.
Quantum computing, on the other hand, uses quantum bits or qubits. It harnesses the unique ability of subatomic particles that allows them to exist in more than one state (i.e., 1 and a 0 at the same time).
In simpler terms, quantum computing has the ability to improve computing power exponentially. This power will be especially useful for situations that require massive computations in a shorter amount of time. It’s for this reason that many large corporations – such as IBM and Google – are pumping millions of dollars into building their own quantum computers. Now, let’s explore the practical application of quantum computing.
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Quantum Computing Applications
Quantum computing has multiple applications, especially in areas that demand high computing power. Some of the areas that appear to be ready to absorb the benefits of quantum computing are:
- Aviation: The aviation industry is perhaps one of the best applications for quantum computing, simply due to the volume and complexity of simulations dealt with. Goliaths of the industry (Airbus, Lockheed Martin) are chasing the dream of quantum computing as we speak.
- Medical research: Since Covid brought the world to its knees, medical and pharmaceutical research has received renewed interest. The number of scenarios to consider before launching lifesaving drugs requires a large amount of computing power, and quantum computing could very likely be the next frontier.
- Autonomous cars: When you think of quantum computing applications, self-driving cars are an almost-obvious inclusion. The sheer number of variables that go into calculating a safe ride is mind-boggling. Many in the industry are already working on perfecting their cars using quantum technology.
Benefits of Quantum Computing
The benefits of quantum computing are enormous. While most laptops today can solve the same problems as early-stage quantum computers could, quantum capabilities are growing rapidly. Within a decade, quantum computers are expected to be able to accelerate solutions to a large range of problems in numerous industries. One research firm projects the quantum computing market to grow at a CAGR of 56.0%, eventually reaching nearly $65 billion by 2030.
Eventually, it is hoped that quantum computers would be able to solve many of the challenging business issues of the day. The many complicated scenarios that we witness will ideally become scenario analyses for the future quantum computers, which segues nicely into the next section of this article: what is the future of quantum computing?
Future of Quantum Computing
In the near future, quantum computers won’t usurp conventional computers for the same reason cars today have not been replaced by flying vehicles. The technology is still likely to be expensive and overpowered for simple tasks that the computers we have today work just fine for.
What is more likely to happen is for a hybrid model to come into existence. Many of the application areas listed above will be in transformative states, as the scenario analyses required would have improved dramatically in accuracy and exhaustiveness. More specific areas with larger implications such as data science, mathematical modeling, material sciences, and optimization algorithms are big draws for this relatively new technology.
Quantum computing technology is still in its infancy but has limitless potential. The number of applications for quantum computing, especially in business, is undergoing a rapid upsurge. The entire processing world will receive a rapid boost once quantum computing comes to fruition, which may be as soon as the end of this decade.
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