Quantum computing is on the rise. Maybe not yet for the mainstream, but governments and industry giants have taken notice. Goldman Sachs is to introduce quantum algorithms in their pricing. Meanwhile, the US government added Chinese quantum computing firms to their export blacklist.
This level of attention is there for a good reason. Quantum computing is indomitable and could increase efficiency in various fields. Here’s a quick lowdown on why it’s such a big deal.
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What Is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing leverages the laws of quantum mechanics identified by physics. This branch of physics studies how the universe works at a subatomic level. Two of its properties, superposition, and entanglement, can be used to innovate computing as we know it today.
Superposition is the property that allows two different states to define a system. It is not just one or another, but it can be both at a given time. In classic computing, computers work through bits that have a value of either ‘1’ or ‘0’. Quantum computing uses an equivalent called ‘qubits,’ which can have two values at a given time.
Quantum entanglement describes the phenomenon where quantum particles stay connected. No matter the distance, quantum particles maintain a connection with one another. What affects one particle can affect another.
These quantum properties translated to computing technology provide promising prospects. These are especially useful when exploring possibilities or going through massive amounts of data.
This is an entirely different way of computing from what we use today. Quantum computing, although a nascent technology, can lead to great leaps in innovation.
Where Can We Use It?
This emerging technology is flexible and can have significant applications in various industries. Here are a few key areas we can monitor.
Manufacturing and Industrial Design
Manufacturing requires efficient processes and designs to produce high-quality products.
The design process can be incredibly tedious. Industrial designers need to consider multiple variables to craft a working product. This is especially important in machinery, transportation, and electronics.
For example, designers often need several drafts when manufacturing a high-speed jet. This process ensures that they have the most efficient wing design for high speeds. It also applies to other key parts of the machine.
Quantum computing can help designers fish through the different possibilities faster. This technology can help them save time and create better designs for a better product.
It can also help manufacturers troubleshoot better. They can give a quantum computer their data on machine failure, and it can help figure out the problem areas.
Logistics is often a time and location-sensitive industry. Thus, it would benefit a lot from optimizing processes. There are a lot of factors to consider when transporting something from one place to another. You have supply chains, vehicle availability, traffic, and customer expectations, among others.
Quantum computing can help companies figure out the best routes for every shipment. This technology also considers real-life factors, such as weather and traffic.
Adopting quantum technology can change the game and fulfill customer standards for logistics. DHL and other logistics companies are already eyeing it as a trend with great potential.
Financial procedures often rely on a lot of complex mathematical processes. Analysts deal with many variables to predict possible outcomes of the market. Major events can require fast-paced responses that classic computers struggle to do.
Quantum computing can help make more accurate simulations and predictions of market activity. They are also a lot better at Monte Carlo simulations than traditional methods.
In finance, a Monte Carlo simulation allows analysts to look at many possible outcomes from an array of variables. These results help us understand the risks and possibilities, especially in financial forecasting. Quantum tech reduces the time and effort required for such operations.
Banking and financial giants recognize the possible applications of this emerging tech. JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo have already invested in quantum computing, powering the future of finance.
Chemical engineering deals with the manipulation of atoms and molecules. The field itself involves the application of quantum principles.
It is also a widely-encompassing field. Chemical engineering has applications in manufacturing, healthcare, construction, food processing, electronics, etc.
With such a wide variety of chemical configurations available, it can take time to find the right one. Quantum computing can help speed up these processes.
This application is beneficial in pharmaceuticals and vaccine development. Our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for urgent solutions.
Artificial intelligence is another emergent technology already making waves in the mainstream. It involves “teaching” machines vast amounts of knowledge to perform various tasks.
AI already has many applications in various fields. These include healthcare, e-commerce, education, finance, security, and media, among others.
Quantum computing can be a significant help in AI efforts. AI development requires the processing of vast amounts of data for machine learning. This helps the AI recognize patterns and make decisions better.
Although classic computing is doing its job, AI would benefit a lot from quantum tech. Faster processing can lead to better AI performance. Eventually, this can result in more human-like responses from AI.
Challenges and Prospects
If quantum computing is so great, why aren’t more industries using it? There are a few challenges that come with using quantum computing today.
The first issue is the complexity of quantum computing processes. Quantum computers are difficult to engineer and program. Thus it becomes challenging to find skilled individuals to operate and maintain the necessary machinery.
At the moment, quantum computers also require protected environments to operate. Yet, they make many mistakes due to the fragility of maintaining superposition and entanglement. They are also costly to maintain, so only large companies have them so far.
Quantum computing is still an emergent technology. It is not yet the standard, though many industry leaders see it in their future. It does have significant potential. But, it still needs further development to get into the mainstream.