Martin Kuhn
Jan 24 · 7 min read
IBM Quantum Computer

The End of Moore’s Law will lead to a New Beginning | The Importance of Quantum Computing

We are on the cusp of a fundamental ‘phase change’ in computing, just as water turns from solid as ice melts to become liquid. Moore’s Law, the doubling of transistors on silicon every 18 months, which lasted 55 years, will transition with a paradigm shift to Quantum computing.

Quantum computing involves the development of computer technology based on the principles of quantum mechanics, which explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels.

There are three key factors driving the importance of Quantum computing:

  1. Major military implications for Nation states such as the development of unbreakable encryption and simulating the testing of nuclear weapons. China has a quantum research facility worth US$10 billion, the EU has a €1 billion ($1.1 billion) quantum master plan, while the US Quantum Initiative Act provides $1.3 billion to promote quantum science.
  2. The opportunity to simulate nature itself on a computer. Fundamental science problems exist which only Quantum computing can solve that could lead to medical breakthroughs.
  3. The ability to solve business problems for which no efficient solutions exist today, so called np hard problems.

How will Quantum computing benefit your business?

Many large firms have already announced support for the use of Quantum computing in their business; Ford, Goldman Sachs, Roche, AT&T, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Toshiba, Volkswagen, and Airbus. We think there will be three stages of development where Quantum computing could benefit your business. Let’s take a look.

1) Optimization (available today) — You need to find the best (most efficient) possible configuration among many possible combinations of variables. For example, any moving objects which are part of a larger system; traffic flow, airplane movements, multi-modal transport movements, and supply chains are today modeled at a relatively simplistic level. Imagine being able to include a far greater number of variables from weather data and fuel prices to localized disruption.

Here are a few public examples:

Additional examples include:

  • Bidding strategies for online ads
  • Advanced internet search engines
  • Semiconductor chip layout optimization
  • Quantum machine learning — AI / ML on steroids (e.g. software test / verification)

2) Complex Simulation (by ~2022) — Quantum computers offer the potential to simulate the quantum mechanics of basic chemical reactions at a subatomic level using the quantum mechanics principles inside a Quantum computer itself. This offers the potential for a far more accurate and detailed simulation of these basic reactions, potentially leading to scientific and medical breakthroughs.

  • Chemical reactions involving ammonia, which are key for fertilizer development
  • Protein folding to treat Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease
  • Materials science for catalytic converters, solar panels, and battery cells

3) Universal Quantum Computing (by ~2025) — Looking out further in time, as Quantum computers become more powerful, there are a range of problems which Quantum computing may be able to address.

  • Encryption and code breaking by factoring numbers
  • Personalized medicine through genome sequencing

What companies will provide Quantum computing to businesses?

An ecosystem of firms large and small are pioneering developments in Quantum computing. Indeed many of the large firms are forming individual ecosystems around their own solutions, such as IBM Q and Microsoft.

Source — Slalom Analysis

Our partner, AWS has launched services which connect customers to Quantum compute capability over the Cloud

  • Amazon Braket — A fully managed service that allows scientists, researchers, and developers to begin experimenting with computers from quantum hardware providers in a single place.
  • AWS Center for Quantum Computing — A research center adjacent to Caltech that will bring together the world’s leading quantum computing researchers and engineers in order to accelerate development of Quantum computing hardware and software.
  • Amazon Quantum Solutions LabA new program to connect AWS customers with quantum computing experts from Amazon partners.

“We see interest in Quantum Computing from customers across Pharma, Financial Services and Supply Chain”

Head of Business Development| AWS Quantum Computing

Understanding the history

At a basic level, we will shift from transistors which have only two states (0, 1) with a 100% probability to Quantum transistors; metals like niobium cooled to act as superconductors, pulsed with microwaves which can simultaneously have an infinite number of states based on all the probabilities of being a 1 or a 0.

Instead of solving a problem one outcome at a time, a quantum computer computes every possible outcome simultaneously.

Nobel Laureate and Caltech Physicist Richard Feynman, who helped develop the atom bomb is seen as the father of Quantum computing with the publication of a 1982 paper titled Simulating Physics with Computers. Yet it is only recently that the topic has become more visible in the media (see below).

Source CB Insights

What does a Quantum computer look like?

A Quantum computer is made up of quantum transistors which use loops of Niobium. The devices themselves can either be circular or square.

Photos above showing quantum computing devices from Rigetti and Intel

As complete systems _ handle with care!

To keep Quantum computers stable, they need to be ultra cold (e.g. D-Wave Systems’ device is -460 degrees F). Quantum computers are also very fragile, any kind of vibration impacts the atoms and causes decoherence.

Images Showing Quantum Computers from IBM and D-Wave

The Slalom point of view

We believe that Quantum computing will primarily be provided by cloud vendors. The prohibitive cost to own and maintain devices in dedicated elaborate facilities will lead most customers to rent time via a cloud partner. The cloud business model will further help drive compute and storage consumption.

We predict that long term, Quantum computing will be most relevant for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in particular. Slalom has a dedicated Data and Analytics Practice which works with clients to plan, design, and execute machine learning solutions to help fuel business growth.

If you are interested to have a conversation about Quantum computing and how it could apply to your business problem, feel free to contact us.

“We see Quantum Machine Learning (QML) accelerating adoption of real-time reinforcement learning and massive simulation analysis across very large dimension spaces that will lead to advancements in areas such as drug discovery, safety, and fraud detection.”

David Frigeri, Data & Analytics | Practice Area Director

Appendix — Publicly available sources for images shown in article

1 “What Is Quantum Computing?” CB Insights Research, https://www.cbinsights.com/research/report/quantum-computing/.

2 “Quantum Computing Systems.” Rigetti Computing, 2019, http://www.rigetti.com/systems/.

3 “Quantum Computing.” Intel Newsroom, 9 Dec. 2019, newsroom.intel.com/press-kits/quantum-computing/#gs.rld66x.

4 “Quantum Computing Prizes Introduced for Users of the IBM Q Experience.” IBM Research Blog, 7 Feb. 2019, www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2018/01/quantum-prizes/.

5 Chen, Sophia. “Wired: Quantum Computing Will Create Jobs. But Which Ones?” You Are Being Redirected…, 9 Aug. 2018, www.dwavesys.com/media-coverage/wired-quantum-computing-will-create-jobs-which-ones.

6“Quantum Computing: Volkswagen Takes the Load off Traffic.” Quantum Computing: Volkswagen Takes the Load off Traffic, 9 Dec. 2019, www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/stories/2018/11/intelligent-traffic-control-with-quantum-computers.html#.

7 “Quantum Technologies.” Airbus, 2020, www.airbus.com/innovation/future-technology/quantum-technologies.html.

“Rahko Conception X: Growth.” Barclays, 24 Oct. 2019, home.barclays/news/2019/10/in-business — solving-the-world-s-hardest-chemistry-problems-with/

8 Saran, Cliff, et al. “Barclays Demonstrates Proof-of-Concept Quantum Clearing Algorithm.” ComputerWeekly.com, 17 Oct. 2019, www.computerweekly.com/news/252472462/Barclays-demonstrates-proof-of-concept-quantum-clearing-algorithm.

9Alameda, Teresa. “BBVA and CSIC Research the Potential of Quantum Computing in the Financial Sector.” NEWS BBVA, BBVA, 3 July 2019, www.bbva.com/en/bbva-and-csic-research-the-potential-of-quantum-computing-in-the-financial-sector/.

10QC Ware Corp. “Goldman Sachs and QC Ware Join Forces to Develop Quantum Algorithms in Finance.” PR Newswire: Press Release Distribution, Targeting, Monitoring and Marketing, 10 Dec. 2019, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/goldman-sachs-and-qc-ware-join-forces-to-develop-quantum-algorithms-in-finance-300971862.html.

Slalom Data & Analytics

Insights, how-tos, and fresh perspectives on the latest…

Martin Kuhn

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Slalom Data & Analytics

Insights, how-tos, and fresh perspectives on the latest trends in data and analytics and data science.

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